BILH COVID-19 Innovations
HTEC has been leading novel technological solutions in response to the rapidly evolving needs of patients, staff, and providers across Beth Israel Lahey Health (BILH) during the COVID-19 pandemic. By harnessing talent and ideas across the system, HTEC has developed and deployed innovations designed to make care as safe and efficient as possible during a time that has challenged providers, patients, and families like never before.
- Developed electronic forms and SMS chatbots to remotely monitor employees for COVID-19 symptoms. Covering all 30,000+ BILH employees, this daily symptom monitoring tool sends automated SMS (texting) communication to all BILH employees so they can easily and quickly report whether they have COVID-19 symptoms. The innovation continues to facilitate around 26,000 interactions each day. Individual data is securely sent to Employee Health, which has protocols in place for employees who report symptoms. HTEC has shared this self-attestation software with Tufts Medical School, Gordon College, and Babson College, and the tool has been rolled out at the Dimock Center.
- Implemented a new texting solution to allow Ob/Gyn patients to report safety or domestic violence concerns. This tool provides a safe, accessible way for this vulnerable population to communicate concerns while enabling care providers to direct resources to those who need them.
- Created a touch-free “Scratch Pad” voice app to allow rounding and ambulatory physicians to dictate quick notes and reminders that they can access later via the Electronic Medical Record when they can safely use a keyboard. The app ensures providers can track important actions for patients more safely, while tending to infected patients and while wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).
- iPads have been wall-mounted in patient rooms in the Emergency Department (ED) red zone and Clinical Decision Unit (CDU), creating a safe and immediate video link for ED physicians to communicate with patients already in a bay, saving critical time to respond to emergencies, while donning PPE.
- A new communication robot is working in the ED red zone and CDU to facilitate communication between physicians and patients without manual intervention. This technology allows physicians to reduce exposure as they safely triage patients before admission to the ED while reducing the use of PPE.
- The ED has developed a multi-view telemedicine solution similar to security camera video display systems that allows physicians and other providers to communicate with patients in ED rooms via one-touch video connections.
The team is also exploring home monitoring devices and digital platforms:
- Oximeters are going home with patients who are using new electronic forms to report their oxygen level data, allowing easy monitoring of this important COVID-19 symptom.
- To facilitate hundreds of tele-visits and to support the Our Notes initiative, we are developing simple, patient-facing electronic forms to capture pre-visit and home monitoring information. This tool removes the need to complete such paperwork that patients would normally complete physically for in-person visits. We are adding additional electronic forms to further reduce the need for paper forms.
A Foundation of Excellence
BIDMC’s leadership and expertise in health care technology
With an unrivaled reputation for excellence in making patient care more technologically sophisticated, BIDMC is uniquely positioned to play a vital role in the future development of health care delivery systems and in the acceleration of introducing innovation to intractable challenges in health care, both in the U.S. and around the globe.
BIDMC was among the first hospitals in the world to concentrate on the use of computers for patient care, teaching, and medical research, launching the nation’s first online patient portal and one of the first hospital-based electronic health record systems. Today, the medical center’s wide range of core competencies, IT leadership, ability to attract top clinical and research talent, and established infrastructure enables us to continue to advance our vision of providing more efficient and effective care to patients everywhere.
Taking the Lead: Manu Tandon
Chief Information Officer, Beth Israel Lahey Health and Executive Director, Health Technology Exploration Center
Manu Tandon is the chief information officer (CIO) of Beth Israel Lahey Health (BILH), and the executive director of the Health Technology Exploration Center (HTEC).
Mr. Tandon received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University, in India. He also earned a master’s degree in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School and a master’s degree in business administration from Boston University. Prior to joining BIDMC, Mr. Tandon served as the secretariat CIO for Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, where he led the state’s largest information technology (IT) public portfolio. Mr. Tandon was intrinsic in the development of Massachusetts’s first statewide health information exchange, known as “Mass HIWay,” which has now completed more than 300 million health care transactions since its inception.
At BIDMC, Mr. Tandon oversaw the entire IT infrastructure and operations for BIDMC. As CIO, he brought the medical center to the forefront of IT innovation. He directs and manages BIDMC’s Health Technology Exploration Center (HTEC), which works to adopt innovative analytics, mobile, cloud, artificial intelligence, and machine learning solutions. Mr. Tandon and his team developed the first BIDMC mobile app store, delivering several mobile applications to improve the value and experience of providers and patients. He also developed the first machine learning solution at BIDMC to improve surgical and operational workflow and the first ambient sounds application (for Amazon Alexa) and patient locator services, the first to use Beacons to help support the workflow of Breast Cancer Patients, soon to be launched at BIDMC to enhance the patient experience. In addition, Mr. Tandon established the first hybrid cloud model at BIDMC, a substantial project that included migrating seven petabytes of patient data to Amazon Web Services.
Mr. Tandon has been recognized by Computerworld magazine as one of the top 100 CIOs in the World and by New England Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society as “The CIO of the Year” for 2014. He is also a frequent speaker at national and state level conferences.
The HTEC mission is to cultivate technology-driven partnerships across the globe; maximize seamless communication between BIDMC providers and patients around the world; and rapidly evaluate, develop, and disseminate a series of high- risk, high-reward innovations to solve real-world problems. The scalable technologies established and identified by HTEC will ultimately be shared with its global partners to enhance health care efficiency, quality, and safety—to improve lives and cure disease around the world.
Exploring Novel Technologies and Platforms
Modeled after sandbox start-up incubators, HTEC disseminates innovation at a fast pace. HTEC’s primary focus is on exploring new technologies, assessing which ones are scalable, and then sharing successful platforms with the rest of the world. Technologies will be tested in house with BIDMC’s proprietary, one-of-a-kind dynamic database of de-identified patient data that is HIPAA-compliant and mitigates compliance issues for rapid testing.
HTEC will allow us to use and expand on these novel technologies and platforms to solve real-world problems affecting the health care industry and medical community. For instance, we will explore:
- Engaging and empowering patients to manage their own health using mobile applications
- Optimizing medical decision making with dashboards and analytics
- Improving patient education and care through conversational interfaces (natural language)
- Enhancing patientclinician communication using new devices and programs
Supporting HTEC’s Visionary Work
Worldwide momentum for health care reform and redesign has made the time ripe to build and expand upon BIDMC’s unique assets in clinical information technology.
With your generous philanthropic support, our recently launched HTEC would make investments in faculty, staff, and infrastructure to take our pioneering work in this field to the next level and to build our capacity for partnerships with organizations, both nationally and internationally, that are seeking to advance the care of their patients with powerful emerging technologies. HTEC would also generate leading-edge research to usher health care into an exciting new era of technological and systemic transformation, and provide training opportunities to extend our unique expertise to other parts of the world. Together, we can play a leadership role in defining what health care can—and should—be and ensure that more patients have access to a standard of excellence in health care.
Support HTEC today or contact Rhea Brubaker at Rhea.Brubaker@bidmc.harvard.edu for more information.