Microsoft, Johns Hopkins take on patient safety by fixing device interoperability: 5 things to know

Of the 4 million patients admitted to U.S. intensive care units annually, between 210,000 and 400,000 die from potentially preventable complications. A partnership between Microsoft and Johns Hopkins in Baltimore is aiming to reduce this number by targeting the interoperability of medical devices.

"Today's intensive care patient room contains anywhere from 50 to 100 pieces of medical equipment developed by different manufacturers that rarely talk to one another," Peter Pronovost, senior vice president of patient safety and quality for Johns Hopkins Medicine and director of the Armstrong Institute, said in a statement. "We are excited to collaborate with Microsoft to bring interoperability to these medical devices, to fully realize the benefits of technology and provide better care to our patients and their families. By combining teamwork with technology designed to meet patients' and clinicians' needs, we can make care safer, less expensive, and more joyful."

Here are five things to know about the partnership.

• Johns Hopkins plans to rally help from Microsoft to revamp Project Emerge, an existing pilot program that uses technology to restructure hospital workflow to eliminate causes of preventable harm.
• Microsoft's Azure cloud platform and services will be combined with Johns Hopkins medical and clinical expertise in an effort to create a product that will enable physicians to see patterns in patient care in a centralized location.
• Clinicians will be able to access this information from any hospital-approved Windows device.
• Earlier this year, Microsoft became a sponsor of Johns Hopkins' business incubator, FastForward, which accelerates product development from healthcare startups.
• The new collaboration expects to begin pilot projects in 2016.

More articles on health IT:

15 criticisms on the lack of EHR interoperability from an AHA report
3 physicians face charges, HIPAA violation for using EHR to 'steal patients'
Opinion: EHR 'gag clauses' hinder patient care research most of all

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