Ochsner integrates healthcare innovation into clinical workflows

Ochsner Health System is scaling healthcare innovation by integrating new technology and models of care into clinical workflows that improve patient outcomes through impactful interventions.

Ochsner Health System is scaling healthcare innovation by integrating new technology and models of care into clinical workflows that improve patient outcomes through impactful interventions.

At the center of these efforts is an innovation lab and accelerator—called innovationOchsner—established in 2015 to identify and validate promising technologies and solutions to solve some of healthcare’s most pressing problems.

“Something that we’ve scaled in the space of machine learning is a patient deterioration model where we can predict codes on the floor within four hours, such as cardiac arrests and respiratory failures,” says Aimee Quirk, chief executive officer of innovationOchsner.

Powered by machine learning, the platform leverages more than 1 billion clinical data points to create a network capable of predicting patient deterioration outside of the intensive care unit with nearly 90 percent accuracy.

“It was great that we were able to develop that model, but just as important to the model itself was designing the intervention, such as a response team and the process for how they will be notified,” Quirk told a webinar on Thursday sponsored by the Center for Connected Medicine. “That was a critical part of making that scalable.”

Ochsner conducted a pilot that involved the creation of a rapid response team that reduced adverse events outside the ICU by 44 percent by responding to specific patient risk thresholds generated by the model. The solution combines machine learning algorithms and Ochsner’s Epic electronic health record system with the computing power of Microsoft Azure cloud.

“Because we designed it in such a way that it is able to be replicated, the solution is now being expanded to all of our hospitals in our health system,” adds Quirk. “We are scaling innovation and have a process for doing it.”

Also See: Ochsner Health System seeks improved access to clinical trials

According to Quirk, another focus area for innovationOchsner is on digital health to better connect with patients in their everyday lives through technology and data.

“The idea is rather than just going into a doctor’s office three or four times a year, patients can send information to us about their health in real time using an app on their smartphone—and then get regular virtual checkups from a dedicated care team from the comfort of their own homes,” she explains. “We have more than 6,500 patients participating in these programs, and they love it.”

When it comes to interventions, Ochsner has targeted diabetes and hypertension. “Studies show that more than 79 percent of patients who previously had out-of-control blood pressure achieved their control goals within six months of entering the program, compared to only 26 percent of patients following a traditional, more episodic care model,” notes Quirk.

In addition, Ochsner developed the O Bar—a retail experience—that offers the latest physician-recommended digital tools to patients, including activity monitors, wireless blood pressure monitors and scales, to help them seamlessly manage their health and wellness. These connected devices are integrated into Ochsner’s EHR so clinicians can leverage patient-generated data.

“Our first O Bar we formed in 2014, and it was really the country’s first retail experience of its kind for health tech,” contends Quirk. “We did it because we recognized that if we wanted to drive digital health adoption in the ecosystem, we needed a way to support that transition.”

Ochsner has seven O Bar locations at different facilities as well as a mobile O Bar that is the organization’s first mobile retail experience.

“We can make sure people are staying healthy and able to live their lives as productively as possible,” she concludes. “At the O Bar, we’ve got a curated list of health and wellness apps, and our tech specialist—our genius behind the bar—can help consumers determine which one is best for their personal needs.”

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