Industry Watch October 2013

Sept. 25, 2013


Five trends for the patient room of the future

By Andrew Quirk, senior vice president & national director, Healthcare Center of Excellence, Skanska USA

NXT Health, a non-profit that promotes change in the healthcare industry through sponsorship of design innovation, is the creator of the next-generation hospital room dubbed “Patient Room 2020.” This interactive room is designed as an inpatient care environment that strives to improve patient experiences and optimize caregiver performance.

NXT Health worked with more than 35 product and service partners. We’re honored to have been one of those partners, providing the project management, permitting and construction estimates for the project. From the innovative designs of lighting experts, software developers, specialty glass manufacturers and custom fabricators, the Patient Room 2020 was built into a 400-square-foot prototype and is on display at DuPont’s Corian Design Studio in New York City.


We think this prototype shows at least five important trends that will influence inpatient rooms of the future. 

1. Blending technology seamlessly: This prototype has what is called a “patient ribbon,” an overhead canopy above the patient’s bed that incorporates life controls, an HVAC diffuser, lighting, audio controls and a color halo. “Each part of that ribbon has been rethought to house as much technology as possible,” says Christopher Whitelaw, director of research and development at Evans and Paul, a partner in the Corian Design Studio and lead fabricator in Patient Room 2020. David Ruthven, principal designer of Patient Room 2020, calls this feature his “Swiss Army Knife.” It also addresses the ability to change along with the sea of changes coming as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without the need for major changes to the built environment. As an example, the ribbon facilitates the growing use of telemedicine.

2. Providing the patient easy access to information and controls: A solid aluminum frame mounted on wheels combines two ubiquitous elements: an over-bed table and a touchscreen tablet to form a single piece of mobile furniture that could be utilized in a wide range of healthcare settings. The hybrid tabletop provides room to eat on one side and a table on the other side, allowing the patient to access educational content, social networks and control of the temperature, audio and lighting in the room.

3. Having a better bathroom: The prototype has an adaptable bathroom concept that features a sliding door system that can be reconfigured based on care needs. If a patient needs assistance in the bathroom, the expandable door will make the bathroom area larger to accommodate an assistant.

4. Improving safety via the caregiver station: Imagine a workstation featuring integrated hand-washing indicator lights and concealed accessories. The integrated LED light illuminates the sink in color: red if you have not washed your hands well and green if you have.

5. Creating a mobile caregiver hub: Caregivers have the flexibility to move around with a deployable bedside work area with embedded technology, simulated UV light sanitization and wireless device charging stations.

The project serves as an example of what design can do to address the complex challenges that face modern healthcare delivery. This effort was specifically for a patient room, but the reality is that many of the ideas can find their way into the outpatient setting and even into your home.

Mobile Apps 

Patient engagement takes a new spin at Miami Children’s Hospital

Marking an industry first for children’s hospitals, the Fit4KidsCare app at Miami Children’s Hospital (MCH) now offers families the ability to order gift shop items, such as toys or cards, from a mobile device and have them delivered to patients in-room within minutes. MCH used the AnyPresence solution for mobile app development to add the new capabilities to its existing app and can use the technology to develop new apps. AnyPresence offers organizations the ability to assemble and deploy back-end servers, native iOS, native Android and HTML5 mobile apps without being locked into any single platform. The solution also provides pre-assembled mobile app templates.

The Fit4KidsCare gift store app also includes a Web-based administrative portal for hospital staff to manage the product catalog, process orders, send automated email notifications and perform HIPAA-compliant patient lookups against a Cerner EMR system, all powered by an enterprise-class backend-as-a-service offering from AnyPresence.

Learn more at


'Rothman Index' score aims to predict unplanned readmissions

What if data from your hospital electronic medical record (EMR) system could be collected and analyzed to predict which patients were most likely to be at high risk for repeat hospitalizations? A recent study in the Sept. 2013 issue of Medical Care, published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health, evaluated a novel scoring concept aimed at doing just that. The score, called the Rothman Index, may provide a useful tool for lowering the rate of avoidable repeat hospitalizations, according to the report by Elizabeth Bradley, Ph.D., Yale School of Public Health, and colleagues.

Michael and Steven Rothman, brothers who have no medical training but are both computer scientists, developed the analytical tool after their mother died unexpectedly four days after hospital discharge following heart surgery. During their mother’s illness, the Rothman brothers were surprised to learn that the hospital’s EMR system did not generate summary patient health measures that might have alerted doctors to unrecognized complications present at discharge.

The Rothman Index software uses information from the hospital EMR system to provide a continuously updated score indicating the likelihood of death or readmission within 30 days. The score is calculated automatically using routine data on each patient’s vital signs, routine nursing assessments, skin condition, heart rhythms and laboratory tests. Lower Rothman Index scores (from a maximum of 100) indicate a higher risk of readmission.

The Rothman Index was strongly associated with the risk of unplanned readmission in the Yale study. For patients in the highest risk category (Rothman Index less than 70) readmission risk was more than one in five. By comparison, for those in the lowest risk category (Rothman Index 80 or higher) the risk was about one in 10.

After adjustment for other factors, patients in the highest versus lowest risk category were more than two and a half times as likely to be readmitted within 30 days of discharge. The Rothman Index predicted readmission across diagnoses and medical specialties.

Source: Wolters Kluwer Health


Verizon getting into remote health monitoring biz

Verizon has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration 510(k) clearance for Converged Health Management, a cloud-based, remote patient-monitoring medical device that provides clinicians with access to up-to-date patient data from connected biometric devices. This is the first time Verizon has sought and gained FDA clearance for a healthcare product. The solution’s data resides in the company’s HIPAA-ready cloud. The product is expected to be commercially available in late 2013.

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