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Move Over Star Wars; Hospital Command Centers Take the Spotlight

Analysis  |  By Mandy Roth  
   June 07, 2018

Command centers give health systems a leading edge to manage capacity and improve patient experience.

Health systems face growing capacity challenges and patient experience suffers when access is limited, or delays occur between transitions in care. In response, hospital command centers featuring sophisticated technology are springing up across the country.

Two new facilities in Florida were announced during the last week of May, joining a list of others that have launched or announced new initiatives since last fall.

Today’s command centers supercharge the operations many hospitals have in place to manage transfers and bed placement. The new breed uses advanced technology featuring predictive analytics and artificial intelligence. One key advantage is real-time data with information about incoming patients, ED and OR capacity, bed availability, and discharges.

Opening in 2016, the command center at The Johns Hopkins Hospital is generally acknowledged as the first hospital to launch a concept of this magnitude in the healthcare arena. As additional health systems see value in this approach to capacity management, these new facilities will operate at the leading edge of a trend that will grow over the next decade:

  • Florida Hospital in Orlando, a member of Adventist Health System, announced its new facility on May 31, perhaps the first in the new generation of command centers that will orchestrate care for multiple hospitals in its system. This facility will coordinate patient care for nine central Florida hospitals, which include about 2,900 licensed beds, more than 2 million patient visits a year, and 640,000 ED encounters annually.
  • Florida Hospital operates at 85% to 100% capacity, and many of its logistics issues stem from incoming transfers from its sister facilities.
  • "It is interesting we're going to spend all this money—$15 million—on a technological solution, but it really has an individual person at the center of it," says Eric Stevens, CEO of acute care services at Florida Hospital. The center will bring a new level of technological sophistication to programs already in place, and help the system meet its strategic objective to improve the patient experience. 
  • "The core of our product is a high quality clinical outcome," says Stevens. "We think that this technology, in many ways, will help meet all the noble goals we have."
  • Tampa General Hospital, a 1,010-bed non-profit academic medical center in Florida, announced its new "care coordination center" on May 29. The focus will be to advance care coordination, help enhance patient safety and quality, and improve efficiency.
  • "We are reinventing how we deliver healthcare by creating a coordinated, patient-centered system of care," said John Couris, MS, president and CEO, in a written statement to HealthLeaders Media. "We are designing it in a way that will provide better support and improve efficiency for our nurses and physicians."
  • Yale New Haven Hospital in Connecticut opened a Capacity Command Center in January, combining real-time data analytics with physical colocation of key operational services to enhance coordination, safety, quality, timeliness, and efficiency in patient care. The facility was developed jointly by the Yale New Haven Health Clinical Redesign initiative, the YNHH in-house analytics staff, and Epic.
  • In December; the Humber River Hospital command center in Ontario opened its doors; Rush University Medical Center in Chicago also is in the process of building a facility.

GE Healthcare Partners is helping many of these healthcare systems develop the technology used in their command centers and offers a product-agnostic approach with the ability to work with whatever IT systems a hospital has in place. In 2018 the firm will help install 10 new command centers, serving 30 hospitals. 

“We're going to spend all this money on a technological solution, but it really has an individual person at the center of it. ”

Mandy Roth is the innovations editor at HealthLeaders.

Photo credit: Florida Hospital, Orlando, FL

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