Air traffic controllers have a huge job. First and foremost their job is to keep passengers safe. Their day starts and ends with making sure that planes takeoff, fly, and land without incident. They have tools at their disposal to help them, of course. These tools monitor automated data received by technology measuring; air speed, altitude, global position, direction, and etc.
It is intuitive to understand, but important to note, that no one is manually entering these values into the computer when the status of the plane changes. The thought of a co-pilot, or flight attendant updating the ascent rate into a database every few minutes after take off is ludicrous. Of course, these data points are transmitted automatically – and in real-time.
With 5,000 flights in the air over the United States and any given time, air traffic controllers look for trends in the data coming in, and can make adjustments on the “fly” (haha) if necessary. For example, based on air traffic approaching George Bush Intercontinental Airport, controllers might divert some planes to Hobby Airport or also to San Antonio if bad weather is currently hammering the Houston area. They would take these actions based on the trending data coming in and being different than expected. This is basic stuff to keep us safe and keep the flow of traffic moving, right?
Well what if we had an air traffic control system in healthcare? In my opinion, a system like this would save lives. It would transform the way patients are prioritized and care is delivered. It may surprise you to know that there is a “framework” for this already. It is called the Real-Time Health System or RTHS.
Gartner says the RTHS, “uses situational and operational intelligence to determine the need for change or intervention, and in doing so, eliminates waste and latency, accelerates workflows and business processes, balances resources with demand, and improves care quality and the patient experience. 1”
“Giant leaps are about to be made and success stories are going to be told. The question is will you be the one telling the stories, or just listening to them?”
I am so excited about this concept because RTHS is not a technology, in and of itself. It is a framework from which patient care solutions may be generated. Real-time health systems are not just real-time location services, or way finding, or even the EHR system in isolation. The RTHS is an integrated “system of systems” designed to provide clinical intelligence to folks monitoring the hospital’s “ecosystem”, as I call it, necessary to intervene and make decisions that could save lives. Those systems may include the following, but the list can actually go-on much longer:
- Patients and Staff Location Systems
- Electronic Medical Record
- Lab Information System
- Medication Order Entry System
- Patient Wearables
- Radiology Information Systems
- Patient Billing
- Dining Services
- Patient Transportation
So if RTLS is only a small part of RTHS, why is it on the blog? Well, it actually fits perfectly. The name of the site is “real-time visibility in healthcare.” That’s what we’re talking about here. And we’re going to talk about it much more…
It is time to get excited about this concept [RTHS] right here, colleagues. Real-time healthcare system is the future. Whether you are an IT leader like me, a hospital operations administrator, or a clinician providing patient care, this RTHS framework and concept should be on your radar to cultivate and put into practice over the next 5 to 10 years. Giant leaps are about to be made and success stories are going to be told. The question is will you be the one telling the stories, or just listening to them after everyone else has already put them in place?
Now that RTHS is defined, we’ll be exploring various use cases and scenarios in short form over the coming weeks. I hope you enjoy this topic and are compelled to comment and add some in yourself!
1 Runyon, Barry; Lefebure, Steven. “The Stages of Maturity in the Journey to the Real-Time Health System” Gartner.com. Gartner, 31 Aug 2016. Web. 22 Sept 2016.