GE Healthcare to build AI-based command center at NHS teaching hospital

Bradford’s emergency department sees about 350 to 400 patients a day, up more than 40% over the past decade. (Wikimedia Commons/Paul Glazzard)(Wikimedia Commons / Paul Glazzard)

GE Healthcare has been tapped to build a centralized healthcare “command center” at the Bradford Royal Infirmary, an NHS teaching hospital in the U.K., to direct patient care delivery and allocate resources.

The first of its kind in Europe, the center will use artificial intelligence and real-time information and analytics to help anticipate bottlenecks across the 800-bed hospital and recommend actions—streaming data to a wall of screens monitored by up to 20 Bradford staff, as well as to tablets and mobile devices across the building.

The project aims to cut waiting times and reduce pressure on staff by reducing the unnecessary time spent in a hospital after a patient is fit to leave, as well as increase the total number of patients treated. In addition, it hopes to increase the number of patients who arrive and are admitted, transferred or discharged from the emergency department within four hours.

Bradford’s emergency department sees about 125,000 patients each year—up by more than 40% over the past decade, with about 350 to 400 patients a day—and with 96% of the hospital’s bed capacity being used on a regular basis.

“Hospitals are increasingly looking to boost the efficiency of their operations so they can continue to deliver high quality care as patient volume increases,” said Mark Ebbens, European command center lead at GE Healthcare, which plans to have the center operational early next year.

The command center model has been employed in the U.S. and Canada, including at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and Toronto’s Humber River Hospital.

According to GE, since the launch of Johns Hopkins’ center, patients from other hospitals have been transferred 60% faster, ER wait times have been cut by 25%, and the time spent waiting in the operating theater for a post-surgical bed decreased by 70%.

“Command centers help to orchestrate the delivery of care across the organization, bringing consistency to processes, prioritizing actions, eliminating waste and predicting tomorrow’s pressure points,” Ebbens said.