Optimised workflow and integrated data in digital ICUs support clinicians during COVID-19

Data sharing and quick, precise decision-making are critical in all health organisations, especially when the coronavirus pandemic stretches their capacities to the limits. Four European hospitals share experience in digitalisation of ICUs.
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Credit: GE Healthcare

Recently, many hospitals have had to increase patient capacity and adjust the work of clinical teams within a few days. Intensive care professionals reveal how GE Healthcare’s clinical information system enables the ICU workforce to continuously keeping track of real-time patients’ data from various medical devices, improving the quality of care, reducing recording errors and saving time.

Integrated data enhances cooperation between care teams

“Having the equipment and care areas connected to the Clinical Information System has helped us to reflect all processes through summary forms in the patient’s medical history,” states Dr María Bodí, Head of ICU Service at the Hospital Universitari Joan XXIII de Tarragona, Spain.

The hospital scaled up its ICU from 28 to 79 beds due to COVID-19. One of the challenges was to incorporate many professionals from different areas of the organisation not used to working in ICU, like nurses and physicians from Emergency, Cardiology and Anaesthesiology. “We quickly reorganised ourselves at team level and leaned on the system’s processes to effectively train new professionals over three days.”

Dr María Bodí sees a great opportunity in prognostic and predictive models that can be created using tools embedded in the clinical information system. So does Dr Steve Mathieu, Care Group Director for Critical Care & Anaesthesia & Theatres in the Portsmouth Hospitals NHS trust, UK. “Whenever we’re faced with something different, we need to be able to adapt, making sure that we’re following an evidence-based practice. Sharing data allows us to establish predictive modelling when we need to change treatment strategies”.

To improve patient safety, we can’t miss any data set

For Vall d’Hebron Hospital, Spain, with 13 ICUs across the hospital in three separate buildings, managing the flow of patients requires reliable clinical communication.

“All devices in the ICUs should be interconnected through the critical clinical information system not because it’s fancy but to improve clinical decision-making. We can generate quality and safety indicators as well as prepare predictions. This is not a future vision; this is how we need to be working now,” notes Dr Ricard Ferrer, Head of ICU at the Vall d’Hebron Hospital.

An overview of health parameters allows focusing on the treatment

In Ghent University Hospital, Belgium, new coronary and post-anaesthesia care units have scaled up due to the pandemic and have also been fully digitalised. “Having one or two at maximum senior staff members at night or at the weekend, and 40-50 patients or more on ventilation, it’s impossible to have an overview without the digital solution,” emphasises Dr Kristen Colpaert.

The Senior Intensivist ICU at Ghent University Hospital recommends hospital organisations managing their patients in the ICU to start the digital transition as soon as possible. “The right information system provides a synthesis of the data that is needed to treat patients in the best way”.

Join the series of sessions 'Critical Care in Critical Settings: Lessons Learned from COVID-19' during the HIMSS & Health 2.0 European Digital Event (7–11 September 2020). Click here to check the list of speakers, detailed schedule and to get your ticket.

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