iPads and checklists aim to improve ICU safety at Johns Hopkins

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Johns Hopkins will devote an $8.9 million grant to use interprofessional teams, processes and technology to make intensive care units safer and to better engage patients and their families in their care. The Baltimore-based hospital plans on dedicating the funds to arm patients with iPads and other tablet devices to follow their providers' points of care and to communicate with them through videoconferences, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The grant is part of a 10-year, $500 million program announced Tuesday by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, an initiative created by the Intel founder and his wife. The University of California-San Francisco also received $2.1 million from the foundation to improve ICU safety. Among its supporters is the Institute of Medicine, which is partnering with the National Academy of Engineering to design safety systems, the Associated Press reported

The beginning efforts start in the ICU because the complexity of cases there leads to many errors and because hospital-acquired infections have been found to quadruple ICU deaths. The foundation believes that ICU safety improvements will transfer to other healthcare settings.

At Johns Hopkins, Peter J. Pronovost, M.D., director of its Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, already is known for creating a checklist to reduce central-line associated bloodstream infections, The Baltimore Sun reported. That checklist has been adopted by hospitals around the world. FierceHealthIT wrote previously about Pronovost's collaboration with Lockheed Martin Corp. to bring practices from aviation into ICUs.

Pronovost said ICUs use 50 to 100 pieces of technology made by dozens of vendors that often aren't integrated. Improving processes and creating interprofessional teams will improve quality and safety and improve patient experience. The changes are expected to save money, too.

"Improvements in patient care will be more significant and lasting if patients and their families are actively engaged--especially if we reconfigure clinical processes, care teams and technology into an integrated whole to focus on patient safety," said George Bo-Linn, chief program officer for the Patient Care Program. 

To learn more:
- here's the WSJ blog post
- see the foundation's announcement
- read the UCSF article
- here's the AP piece
- check out the Sun article

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