How Does the Yale New Haven Hospital Use Tech to Improve Care?

For many, a career in technology amounts to working as a computer programmer, software developer, IT manager, or even a database administrator. In the digital age, though, an aptitude for technology has the legs to intersect many industries.

After all, experts say 77 percent of employers will require at least some degree of technology skills when hiring in the next decade. That’s a realistic goal, especially since more than half of jobs today require candidates to retain tech-savvy traits, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That confidence in technology and its broad reach can be seen in the work being done at Yale New Haven Hospital—one of the city’s shining achievements.

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Christopher Chmura, a service line educator at Yale New Haven, says the hospital has increased efficiencies over recent years as staff continues to integrate new technologies in many stages of care.

Beginning at the hospital 11 years ago, Chmura has served as an educator for five years and now oversees three emergency departments under the umbrella of Yale New Haven. He received his bachelor’s degree in nursing from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in nursing with a focus in education from the University of Hartford.

For Chmura, an educator tasked with professional development in the hospital’s lauded emergency department, he has experienced Yale’s willingness to test new devices.

Tech and Medical Services are a Great Pair

About five years ago, the hospital began using an electronic medical record—a comprehensive platform aligning every corner of the hospital.

Often assessing data and analytics, he says the structure has worked to improve accuracy and timeliness via telemetry monitors tracking blood pressure, heart rate, and other heart monitoring data, which is automatically downloaded onto live medical records.

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No longer are nurse technicians painstakingly charting countless metrics, which decreases human error and response time, according to Chmura.

“It’s extremely powerful,” he said of the system’s effectiveness. “We didn’t have the ability to get that specific with reporting in the past. We have tons of data to show that people make skill-based errors when they are trying to put information from one source to another.”

In years past, healthcare was not required to look at efficiencies as insurance companies paid for whatever was “needed.” But times have changed, Chmura says, and technology has taken a distinct role in ensuring staff redundancies are limited.

Practical Applications  

More than five years ago, the emergency department trialed Mobile Heartbeat, a Massachusetts-based startup company that secures smartphones for hospitals to improve internal communications.

After trialling the service, the hospital gave the young company feedback and received optimized software in return. Pleased with the personalized service, Yale New Haven became one of the first healthcare providers to employ Mobile Heartbeat.

Since then, the hospital has provided staff thousands of Apple iPhones on racks across the hospital in downtown New Haven. The system’s effectiveness, Chmura says, is proven when abnormal lab results are electronically reported to different areas of the hospital, streamlining information among different providers caring for a patient.

According to Mobile Heartbeat’s website, they provide 31 percent faster clinical response time, 38 percent reduction in steps, and 50 percent improvement of Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores.

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Chmura says the hospital also introduced a device called i-STAT, a handheld blood analyzer for point-of-care testing. After testing with the device, provided by Abbot, providers have been able to reduce lab result times from about 50 minutes to 10 minutes.  

For example, the device allows for rapid point-of-care testing for time-sensitive data such as troponin—a cardiac enzyme that may signal a cardiac event such as a heart attack.

“We are now able to alter the course for treatments at a moment’s notice,” Chmura said. “Our numbers for response time of acute heart attacks are some of the best because our ability to get notification from EMS (emergency medical services).”

Yale New Haven, a nonprofit boasting a 1,541-bed medical center, uses the power of its health system to purchase new technologies before for-profit providers because it improves “patient care and patient outcomes”, rather than others who invest in their shareholders.

“We are very technology-driven at Yale-New Haven,” Chmura said of the hospital that ranks nationally in eight children’s specialties and in nine adult specialties.

“We have been able to set ourselves apart because we are using a lot of different technologies to accomplish our goals and provide effective care to patients across many specialties.”

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