'It'll change the future of pediatric healthcare': How a NASA-inspired hub can improve care at a Missouri hospital

Children's Mercy Kansas City (Mo.) is the first freestanding pediatric hospital to open a NASA-inspired "mission-control" center that tracks patients from admission to discharge, reduces clinician administrative burden and centralizes hospital operations.

The Patient Progression Hub is a 6,000-square-foot hub with two walls of more than 20 screens, open desks and predictive AI and analytics that identify and solve problems, according to an April 24 news release from the hospital. 

"The space is designed for teams to interact in real time to the data feeds," Stephanie Meyer, RN, chief nursing officer at Children's Mercy, told Becker's. "It allows groups in a hospital that want to work together to do so more seamlessly by actually taking down the walls and putting them in the same space. … Everyone from physician and nurse leadership to our EVS team to our security team to our transport and comms team, everybody is in one location and they're all working together simultaneously as the data comes in."

Using the technology, staff streamline patient flow from admissions to discharge and can take on administrative tasks such as test prioritization, Jennifer Watts, MD, an emergency medicine physician and chief patient progression medical officer, told Becker's.

"The goal here is to keep bedside care at the bedside," Dr. Watts said. "[The hub] takes the administrative burden off of clinicians so they can do what they do best and they can take care of that patient."

The hub, which launched April 24, has created a buzz among hospital staff, who are gravitating to all the technology can do.

"It's a kind of newfound hope," Dr. Watts said. "It's energy that we didn't totally expect to see, but we've got people buzzing around finding ways to get involved, looking for opportunities, coming up with ideas on their own, pitching things of, 'Can I get it to do this and this and this now?' It's a lot of new ideas and a lot of hope."

As a pediatric emergency medicine physician, Dr. Watts is most excited about the predictive opportunities.

"It allows us to really start to predict and plan a lot of our census information, a lot of our day-to-day information," she said. "We can become more proactive than we ever have been instead of being reactive and trying to play catch up. That adds to job satisfaction as well as better outcomes for our kids. … I think we've only knocked off the tip of the iceberg."

Ms. Meyer added: "It'll change the future of pediatric healthcare and not only the way we deliver it, but the outcomes that we see and the pace at which we see them … and it looks really sick. We all like to be down there in this space. It's phenomenal to watch it in motion and to see it play out."

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