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GE Carescape is the main focus of a front page story
in Healthcare IT News (dead tree edition that came today). GE
Healthcare brings out the big guns to describe the Carescape solution.
Let's start with the problem as they define it:

Walk – or be wheeled – into any hospital’s emergency or operating room and you’ll likely be met with a jungle of technology.
Each system serves an important function, and yet they might not all be connected in a way that information is shared easily.

Patient monitoring is defined as devices that collect and display
patient data. According to GE Healthcare officials, false alarm rates
exceed 80 percent, clinicians are overwhelmed by the amount of data
they have to collect, and critical vital signs are sometimes not
provided in time for proactive responses.

According to David Freeman, chief marketing officer of monitoring
solutions for GE Healthcare, "...traditional patient monitoring
(measures) have not been keeping pace.” Amen to that. But it seems to
me that a major factor in this "jungle of technology" is the proclivity
for vendors like GE - virtually all medical device vendors, in fact -
to build end-to-end proprietary systems. This megalomaniac vision that
places the vendor's product (and not anyone else's) as the center of
the universe is perhaps the biggest factor in patient safety problems
at the point of care. The traditional solution for this problem is to
buy everything from one vendor - except there is no one vendor who
makes everything, not even GE.

The solution is, "a new product portfolio called CARESCAPE. Its goal is to provide a
wireless infrastructure that offers clinical decision support, advanced
parameters and device integration and control at the patient’s bedside."

Using enterprise access – what Freeman calls “the wireless
backbone” of the suite of solutions – CARESCAPE is designed to pull
together a wide range of disparate devices and systems for easy access
and control, allowing a doctor in an emergency room to quickly call up
a patient’s full electronic medical record or a nurse coming on duty to
check the status of all of his/her patients.

“It just takes one or two clicks on the keyboard and it’s all
there, as opposed to walking away somewhere else” to a distant computer
or series of workstations, says Munesh Makhija, general manager of
systems and wireless monitoring solutions.

What exactly all this means, time will tell. Perhaps I will be able to get some details next week at the AAMI conference in Boston.