HARRISON – Inspira Health Network celebrated the opening of its Innovation Center Tuesday at the South Jersey Technology Park on the campus of Rowan University.
Call it the health system’s idea lab.
It’s where hospital employees and Rowan students will train using a breathing, sweating mannequin in a simulated patient room. It’s also where Inspira will develop new technology to improve patient care.
Dave Johnson, vice president of innovations, said the space gives Inspira teams a place to escape and collaborate.
“We are already testing concepts of an interactive patient room of the future,” Johnson said. “We are focused on practical, but creative, ways to improve safety, quality and the overall patient experience.”
John DiAngelo, Inspira’s president and CEO, said the health system wants to encourage innovation among its employees.
“I think this is that extra step for us to move forward,” he said.
Here’s what’s going on inside:
Inspira re-created a patient room inside the center, outfitted with the same equipment used in its hospitals. The “patient” is a high-tech mannequin that employees and students can use for training. The system includes 1,000 real-life scenarios and a monitor for viewing diagnostic scans for each one.
The health system offers an app for a smartphone or tablet that some patients are using to follow individualized treatment plans at home through two Inspira pilot programs.
Since January, 21 patients with certain chronic diseases, like diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, have used the app to report progress on diet and exercise. The app automatically collects information through wearable and external devices used to track patients’ weight, blood sugar and oxygen levels, and blood pressure.
Patients enrolled in Inspira’s Woodbury-based bariatric program are also using the app to report progress on activity and weight loss.
The health system is working to fine-tune the app and make it available to more patients in the future.
Danielle Riggins, an Inspira analyst, said the goal is to get patients to feel someone from their care team is at home with them.
Following a “health hack” earlier this year, Inspira invested $20,000 in an idea to improve transportation options for people who need a ride to their medical appointments.
A team is working to develop an app that will help patients coordinate those rides from family members, volunteers or hospital staff. The group is working to launch a pilot study next summer targeting dialysis patients.
David Yhlen, chief operating officer for Inspira’s ambulatory services, said a lack of transportation and access to care has long been an issue for area patients.
“This app can help,” Yhlen said.
Voice Artificial Intelligence
Using a smart assistant device, like Alexa, patients can find Inspira urgent care centers and ask for wait times. That capability will be expanded, explained Sasha Meremianin, a business analyst at the Innovation Center.
Someday, hospitalized patients will use voice commands to control the lights in their room or ask the system to call a nurse. But that’s in the “far future,” said Meremianin.
For now, the team uses the simulated patient room to test its ideas.
In Cumberland County, patients often wait longer before seeking care for heart attack symptoms, said Michelle Zucconi, administrative director for critical care at Inspira Medical Center Vineland. She found patients in Cumberland County wait an average of seven hours longer before calling for help than heart attack patients in Gloucester County.
It also takes longer for emergency responders to reach patients in rural sections of South Jersey.
To improve education for patients and deliver help faster, Inspira is preparing to launch the Pulse Point mobile app in Cumberland County.
Soon, residents within a 2½-mile radius of a cardiac arrest victim can get an alert on their phones with the victim’s location, along with the nearest AED (automated external defibrillator). The system is already used elsewhere in the country.
Pulse Point will eventually roll out in Salem and Gloucester counties, too. The sooner cardiac arrest victims receive CPR, the better their chances of survival, Zucconi noted.
When it comes to the heart, she said, “time is muscle.”
Kim Mulford: @CP_KimMulford; (856) 486-2448; [email protected]
Technician Allen Ecker discusses a new patient simulator featured inside the new Inspira Innovation Center in Mullica Hill. Cherry Hill Courier-Post
Also in South Jersey
Read or Share this story: https://www.courierpostonline.com/story/news/local/south-jersey/2018/10/24/inspira-opens-innovation-center-testing-new-technology-nj-hospital/1738162002/