South Florida Hospital News
Thursday May 28, 2020
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April 2018 - Volume 14 - Issue 10

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Actionable Artificial Intelligence: It’s Not Big Brother Watching But More Like Mother’s Intuition

Health care has undergone many changes in the past decades but there is a universal, time honored theme, beyond quality care, that challenges hospitals administrators … namely customer satisfaction. It is often the non-medical issues that instill confidence in patients and their families toward doctors and hospitals, because that is what is understandable to the layman. 

In conversations among South Florida business leaders around health care a common theme resonated while sharing stories of loved one’s hospital experiences. It converged on a lack of communication which caused increased anxiety for patients and families when surgery was being performed. ‘Why does the monitor say that my child is still in surgery? Why can’t anyone provide me with a status of my wife’s surgery? Why was my surgery postponed at the last minute?’ That pivotal customer satisfaction principle was the nexus of an idea for entrepreneur Kory Laszewski, CEO TenX Healthcare.
 
“If Fed Ex can tell me exactly where my package is and when it will arrive, why can’t my hospital tell me the status of my loved one’s surgery?” he asked.
 
As a self-described serial entrepreneur focused on creating solutions that drive business and enhance the customer experience, Laszewski zeroed in on the surgery experience, which can account for as much as a 65% chunk of a hospital’s portfolio. He found a dissatisfier for patients/ families AND surgeons/surgical staff is that no automated, real time, accurate monitoring of the patient flow through the system is available to track and avert delays.
 
Relying on his strong ‘techie’ background, he and his team worked with prominent Surgery Chiefs to compile a comprehensive list of process delays and then devised an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that would provide an easy- to-implement, inexpensive way to monitor in real time and fix problems when they occur or even before.
 
The patient surgical journey involves the orchestration of numerous people, processes and assets. Quality outcomes and cost of care depend on managing resources efficiently. A partnership with Intel Corporation’s R&D specialists started the dialogue to build a platform that can leverage tracking tools and techniques to improve the customer experience for families, surgeons and hospital staff.
 
TenX created the Hawthorne system, a platform designed to monitor the surgical patient workflow in real time using multiple sensor technologies. A suite of AI supported software analyzes and communicates proactive actionable alerts to the right person at the right time for optimal decision support.
 
The moniker, Hawthorne, was reminiscent of the famous research study on workplace productivity. The “Hawthorne Effect” is a type of reactivity in which individuals modify an aspect of their behavior in response to their awareness of being observed.
 
The TenX AI software was designed to “observe” the patient perioperative journey in real-time with the goal of proactively identifying opportunities for performance improvement, increased throughput, and overall productivity.
 
Hawthorne first benchmarks timely workflow performance and triggers proactive communication when performance is outside of defined thresholds.
 
Like an air traffic controller, this predictive monitoring of the overall perioperative process pinpoints when potential issues arise, even before they occur along with immediate and accurate recommendation for course correction.
 
“You can’t fix what you can’t see,” Laszewski said, “This is not another dashboard that collects mounds of data that overwhelms those whose main concern is operating on a patient and getting him out of the surgical suite and into recovery as quickly as possible. That throughput is the foundation for patient and doctor satisfaction,” he explained.
 
Instead, a low cost wireless chip was engineered to be attached to patient ID bands to enable the Hawthorne system to track outliers. It can leverage the task and location to identify where bottlenecks may occur and close those gaps with an auto alert for next steps to occur. It provides real time info that is immediately actionable.
 
For example, surgical staff responsible to monitor patient vitals and transfer to next stage of recovery must document when the OR suite is ready to be cleaned and prepped for the next case. Currently, this is a manual process, and understandably does not take priority over patient care. So, it may be entered after all patient concerns are settled. That delay in a nurse’s manual accounting can add several minutes until the environmental services team even knows that a room needs attention before the next case.
Each delay adds to schedules for anesthesiologists, surgeons, nurses, techs and ancillary staff related to each case. Multiply that by a surgery schedule of 3-6 cases per day.
 
Pilot hospitals using Hawthorne found that they were able to increase the volume of cases they performed each month while reducing the average “last case out time”. This translated into increased revenues and significant savings of premium labor and overtime hours - all thanks to a more efficient workflow. Additionally, reduced anxiety for patients’ families, less stress and inefficiency for physicians and staff, and the potential for life threatening mistakes because of rushing or missing protocols is avoidable.
 
“Interestingly, the automated alerts and recommendations were met with an extremely positive response because it allowed nursing personnel to focus on patient care, helped ancillary personnel to know when rooms were available to clean, and allowed surgeons to better manage their busy schedules. Finally, by streamlining the process and nudging when tasks appeared as outliers for predetermined expectations, everyone went home on time more often,” Laszewski summarized.
 
Streamlining the surgical process with accurate information regarding patient status and location allows proactive case specific notifications for family and staff too, which has positively impacted patient satisfaction scores; updates on patient arrivals and previous cases and room availability to doctors; and, escalations to management when processes are not on schedule.
 
The entire eco-system of the perioperative journey is smoother and responsive to all stakeholders when predictive analysis and reliable visibility information is shared in real-time. Those who need to know can make course corrections, ensure better patient outcomes and get the job done on time, every time.

For more information, email klaszewski@tenxhealthcare.com or call (954) 612-5649.

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