Johns Hopkins Hospital launches NASA-inspired command center to enhance hospital operations

The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore has opened the Judy Reitz Capacity Command Center, which combines the latest technology in systems engineering, predictive analytics, experience, volume and patient flow.

The capacity command center was designed and built with GE Healthcare Partners with NASA's command center in mind. It incorporates systems engineering principles, which are typically seen in industries, such as aerospace, aviation and power.

Inside the command center
The command center is staffed by about 24 hospital workers from various departments. They work together in a single room, equipped with real-time and predictive information and empowered to take action to prevent or resolve bottlenecks, reduce patient wait time, coordinate services and reduce risk.

The command center houses a sophisticated system with a wall of computer monitors that provides situational awareness and triggers the command center team to take immediate action when needed. In a typical afternoon, the system receives about 500 messages per minute from 14 different Johns Hopkins IT systems generating real-time data to prompt responses throughout the hospital.

"In the past, like most hospitals, we were dependent on traditional technology — phones, email and IT systems — to manage the hospital, assign beds, etc.," said Mary Margaret Jacobs, director of patient/family and visitor services for The Johns Hopkins Hospital. "The capacity command center brings the latest high-tech tools into a NASA-like control center here at our hospital."

The technology in the command center provides 24/7 information about when there is an influx of patients coming into the hospital, which units need additional staff, the status of how many patients are being treated, the need for and availability of beds across the hospital, the highest-priority admissions and discharges and other essential information.

How the Judy Reitz Capacity Command Center has improved care
Since The Johns Hopkins Hospital opened the command center earlier this year, there has been a 60 percent improvement in the ability to accept patients with complex medical conditions from other hospitals and around the country. When it comes to ambulance pick up, Johns Hopkins' critical care team is now dispatched 63 minutes sooner to pick up patients from outside hospitals.

In the emergency department, a patient is assigned to a bed 30 percent faster after a decision is made to admit him or her. Patients are also transferred 26 percent faster after they are assigned a bed. Transfer delays from the operating room after a procedure have been reduced by 70 percent, and 21 percent more patients are now discharged before noon compared to 2015.

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