Helping the Helpers: GE Healthcare Enables ICU Ventilation Surveillance at Scale to Help Clinicians Fight COVID-19

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Doctors and nurses are, by nature, resourceful problem-solvers, using the tools they have available to save as many lives as possible. During the COVID-19 pandemic, that means finding new ways to observe their patients while lowering their own risk of infection and addressing the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The intensive care unit, or ICU, is one particularly critical area of the hospital that often brings together the sickest patients and many caregivers needed to frequently check on patients. As a result, nurses in one California hospital in an urgent need of a solution have reportedly turned to baby monitors to check on patients from afar.[1]

Sadiq Syed, general manager of GE Healthcare’s Clinical Care Solutions segment for clinical software & informatics, and his team thought there must be a more comprehensive way to solve the problem. Last July, the team launched Mural Virtual Care Solution, designed to help hospitals remotely track protocol compliance across care areas in a hospital. Syed thought it could be quickly modified to address clinicians’ needs related to COVID-19.

Mural Virtual Care Solution, which is enabled by Decisio Insights – a standalone 510(k) cleared device, allows doctors and nurses to access the status of many ICU patients in one central place. They are able to drill down into each patient dataset based on hospital defined prioritization and take a closer look at their vital signs in near real time, manage hospital defined protocols around lung protection and ventilation weaning, activate audio/video feeds of the room, and consult information in their electronic medical records.[2]

The team realized they could quickly adjust the Mural software to focus on the most critical COVID-19 metrics, such as vital signs and ventilator data, and offer a version that would be easier and faster for hospitals to install on the cloud in partnership with Microsoft.

Mural Virtual Care allows doctors and nurses to see the status of numerous ICU patients in one central place. They are able to drill down into each patient dataset based on prioritization and take a closer look at their vital signs in real time, manage protocols around lung protection and weaning off ventilation safely, refer to imaging and cardiology systems, activate audio/video feeds of the room, and consult information in their electronic medical records.

Normally a project of this magnitude would take weeks, but GE Healthcare partnered with Microsoft’s cloud unit, Azure, to roll out the COVID-19-specific software in just days. “We had a call on a Sunday with the Microsoft leadership team, and we had the proof of concept deploying in the cloud on Thursday,” Syed says.

The Mural COVID-19 solution, which became available this week, has a number of potential benefits. Many hospitals are already using Microsoft Azure. By deploying the software through the cloud, instead of installing it on local servers, GE Healthcare can help hospitals get up and running more quickly. Syed says that the COVID-19 version of Mural can be installed quickly.

The Mural COVID-19 offering integrates data from multiple systems and devices into a single pane of glass providing hospitals the ability to extend clinical capabilities and resources by giving visibility to at-risk and ventilated patients while minimizing exposure to staff.

With earlier pilots of Mural Virtual Care Solution at two hospital systems, including Oregon Health & Sciences University, Tele ICU specialists were able to consult on near-real-time streams of data with healthcare providers on the hospital floor. “That enablement is almost like a cockpit in a plane,” Syed says.

In an effort to help fight the coronavirus pandemic, GE Healthcare is offering a free evaluation of the Mural Covid-19 package until January 31, 2021, with customers only responsible to pay for installation costs.

[1] Baby monitors in the ICU: Nurses get creative to save lives, critical equipment, ABC News, April 1, 2020.

[2] The Mural Virtual Care Solution COVID-19 offering does not provide all options available in the Mural Virtual Care Solution. Refer to the website for additional details.

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