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Hospital rooms get smart

InformationWeek, October 20, 2011

If a hospital room could speak, it would say things like: Keep my patients safe. Make my bed foolproof so that patients don't fall out. Keep those Latex gloves away from allergic patients. And make sure the patient on the left side of the room doesn't get the medication intended for the one on the right. A recent visit to a digitally enhanced "smart room" at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center convinced me that some hospital rooms can, in fact, deliver on these priorities. These rooms, which are jointly funded and operated by UPMC and IBM, are called SmartRoom and use real-time location tracking devices to bring patient information from the EMR to computer screens in the patient's room. At the UPMC hospital I visited, clinicians were recognized by the room with the help of ultrasound-enabled badges, which then allowed them to access patient data.