On November 30th, I had the privilege of attending the Humber River Hospital (HRH) Command Centre launch event in Toronto, Canada.
To me, it represented the culmination of outstanding leadership, dedication, and hard work, all geared towards turning the challenges faced by today’s healthcare system into an opportunity to push boundaries and leverage technological innovation. It is no surprise that healthcare is under extreme amounts of pressure, with demand rising and strict efforts to control cost in effect.
The HRH Command Centre is an innovative solution developed in partnership with GE Healthcare Partners (GEHCP) to address this pressure and ensure that access to high quality healthcare does not suffer as a result. A brief video describing the concept can be found here.
The ribbon cutting ceremony had a definite positive energy about it, with over 250 guests attending from a wide range of organisations and hospitals.
Some of the guests included the Minister of Innovation, Research and Science, the Ivey International Centre for Health Innovation, and GEHCP Command Centre ecosystem partners from over ten healthcare organisations across North America, all of whom are interested in or have already begun a command centre journey of their own. Attendees were enthusiastic about the Command Centre and the potential it represents for the future of healthcare.
Standing in the Command Centre is quite an exhilarating experience. Twenty-two large screens display analytic tiles, showing real-time information pulled from all corners of the hospital to create a holistic view of current operations. Alerts on the screen highlight exceptions that need attention to keep a patient or task on track. There is a low hum that suggests productivity without being intrusive.
Command Centre staff work together to problem-solve, using the information displayed to determine the best course of action for each patient and the hospital as a whole. The meeting rooms at the back of the space are a hub for touch points with visibility of the screens to allow for informed conversations without disrupting the staff working in the main space.
It was particularly inspiring to see the impact the command centre had already had on HRH; within one day of going live, the HRH command centre staff were using the tiles and relying on the information to drive actions based on real-time data. It was also great to see the global interest in the command centre. Having previously worked at Humber, and being closely involved in the design phase of the command centre, it was personally quite inspirational and humbling to see this number of leaders in various industries come together to support and learn about this innovative approach to technology in healthcare.
A big part of the reason I joined the GEHCP UK team is because I believe in command centres. I am passionate about ensuring continued access to high quality healthcare for populations, even as the challenges facing the system become more complex and demanding over time. The Canadian healthcare system, just like the NHS, is under pressure. Small system changes will no longer help them keep their heads above water. Whole system transformation and new ways of working, such as command centres, are required to ensure Canadians and the British can continue to rely upon the high-quality healthcare systems they know today.
I truly believe that command centres will make a difference in access and quality of healthcare, by freeing up latent capacity, and creating resiliency and visibility of every patient. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of command centres to me is the ability to continually innovate and develop, pushing the boundaries of what healthcare can achieve. While there are challenges to face, overcoming them together will make for a stronger, more resilient healthcare system in the long run with the ability to adapt and respond to the needs of patients.
Overall, attending the HRH Command Centre opening reinforced my belief that there are steps we can and should be taking now to improve healthcare delivery; not just for the present but also setting ourselves up to succeed for the future. It reinforced the message that dedication to operational and clinical excellence driven by strong leadership and dedicated champions can have a transformational impact on a hospital or healthcare system, and that this is needed to ensure continued access to high quality, reliable patient care for the future of healthcare.
Stephanie Hood is Senior Consultant at GE Healthcare Partners.