Data Deputies and Disease Detectors for Smart Hospitals
“If I had one wish, I would want an intelligent machine by my side in the emergency room integrating patient data, analyzing it and making recommendations. That would help me make the right decision quickly to save a life,” says Dr Francismar Vidal, head of RD&I at Fundação Zerbini in São Paulo, Brazil. “The patient is surrounded by machines collecting vital data, but the machines don’t talk to each other!”
Dr Vidal is part of a team at the cardiac care unit of the University of São Paulo’s Medical School. The team turned to SAP Labs Latin America to find a solution that would integrate data and display it on one big dashbord at the center of the unit where all medical staff will have one view of all patient data.
“Even the most experienced doctors need support to deal with the volumes of data that are part of daily operations in every hospital. Today, nurses spend 2/3 of their time inputing data manually into charts or electronic records. That’s a lot of time that could be used for personal engagement with sick people,” says the doctor.
Technology to the Rescue
“Dealing with data is not the only challenge of modern day hospitals,” says Daniel Duarte, Head of the Innovation and Customer Experience Center at SAP Labs Latam. “We have another healthcare project to help stop the spread of infectious diseases in hospitals.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that two million patients get an infection while in the hospital each year, and 99,000 of them die as a result. Hospitals around the world are facing the same challenge.
MGS is a group that provides cleaning services to the 21 public hospitals in Minas Gerais, one of the largest states in Brazil. They know hand hygiene is the first and best defense against infections, but they also think technology can help fight the spread of disease.
“One of our biggest challenges is monitoring the whereabouts of our staff and the beds. Often patients are wheeled out of their rooms in their beds and are taken across the hospital for examinations or treatment. We don’t know if they pass through areas that have not yet been cleaned on that day,” says Aline de Oliveira Costa, Specialist for Hospital Cleanliness at MGS.
“We have 187 cleaners in just one hospital, and they are constantly requested to stop routine duties to engage in terminal cleaning whenever a patient vacates the hospital. We don’t know exactly where they are at any given moment. They keep notes on checklists, but we only collect them at the end of the day.”
In spite of strict standards, in many hospitals common procedures for cleaning beds and rooms fail to eliminate bacteria. Highly resistant micoorganisms survive on surfaces even after they have been cleaned. Detecting these organisms requires ATP testing, a process of measuring live microorganisms through detection of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP.
Collaboration and Empathy
Like the cardiac team in São Paulo, MGS came to SAP Labs Latin America for a solution.
“First we sent our team to the hospital to observe exactly how the cleaners, adminstrators and hospital staff interact. Being on site helps employees develop empathy for the end users. Then they sent their people to our location so we could work together to find the right solution,” says Daniel.
The result is an app, still in prototype phase, that runs on SAP HANA Cloud Platform. Beds, badges and other objects are tagged with beacons that track the status of the rooms, staff and resources. Cleaners are equipped with ATP Clean Trace devices which collect surface samples during the cleaning process and measure the level of bacteria and microorganisms. Inspection is no longer just a visual check.
“Thanks to this integrated, Cloud solution based on SAP’s IoT technology, the service provider, the hospital and the staff can control the process more effectively and ensure that the rooms and beds are truly clean. As a result, patients are less exposed to bacteria that can cause infections,” says Glaydston de Oliveria, Head of IT at MGS.
“These are just two examples of the way collaboration with customers and end users impacts our working model,” says Daniel. “We have a program where employees can set aside 10% of their time to work on innovation projects, regardless of their role in the company. Employees are very motivated when they actually see how their work is improving lives!”