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Hopkins, Microsoft want ICU machines to better communicate

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Microsoft announced Monday they are combining efforts to improve the way medical devices in hopsital intensive care units communicate in hopes of curbing medical errors and preventable complications that kill as many as 400,000 patients a year.

The two organizations hope to develop a cloud-based technology that will collect data from monitoring equipment and centralize it so that nurses and doctors don't have to pay attention to as many different machines. Medical staff also will be able to access patient information from any hospital-approved Windows device. Pilot projects will begin next year.

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The idea builds off of years of work by the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality's to reduce infections in hospitals, including by having doctors follow check lists.

"Today's intensive care patient room contains anywhere from 50 to 100 pieces of medical equipment developed by different manufacturers that rarely talk to one another," said Dr. Peter Pronovost, Hopkins' senior vice president of patient safety and quality and director of the Armstrong Institute, in a statement. "We are excited to collaborate with Microsoft to bring interoperability to these medical devices, to fully realize the benefits of technology and provide better care to our patients and their families."

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Hopkins will provide the clinical expertise for the project, while Microsoft brings its technologies. Terms of the partnership were not disclosed. Earlier this year, Microsoft became a sponsor of FastForward, Johns Hopkins' new business incubator designed to accelerate product development for health IT startup companies.

Johns Hopkins and Microsoft plan to develop the project quickly, with pilot projects estimated to begin in 2016.

amcdaniels@baltsun.com

Twitter.com/ankwalker


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