Intermountain innovation lab to focus on making care more patient-centric

A patient room of the future with 3-D printing, handwashing sensors and "life detectors" aren't tools out of some futuristic movie--they're all part of Intermountain Healthcare's new Healthcare Transformation Lab, which launched this week, the 22-hospital health system announced.

Salt Lake City-based Intermountain teamed with technology companies Dell, CenturyLink, NetApp and Sotera Wellness to create the lab, located at its flagship 208-bed hospital in Murray, Utah. The purpose of the lab is to enable joint research that will lead to development of new ideas "to improve and optimize patient care."

Appropriately studied and reviewed innovations will be created and tested for use at Intermountain facilities, according to the announcement, and then possibly across the U.S., depending on contracts and regulations. The lab, two years in the making, will include, among other projects:

  • A patient room of the future, in which vital signs will be monitored without being tethered to wires
  • 3-D printing of medical devices to produce prototypes for testing and clinical purposes
  • Handwashing sensors that will be worn like watches by hospital physicians and nurses to reinforce proper hygiene
  • Wireless alerts known as "life detectors" that will provide caregivers with patient vital signs in or out of medical facilities

"It was natural for us to continue to leverage that desire to be better," Intermountain CIO Mark Probst told the Deseret News about the lab.

Wesley Valdez, medical director of telehealth services at Intermountain, added that the company is working to make care more patient-centered.

"It's transformative," he told the Deseret News.

Intermountain has also paired up with Deloitte Consulting in a five-year collaboration to help the healthcare industry harness big data and analytics to reduce costs and improve patient outcomes, the pair announced in March.

Partnerships among healthcare groups and tech or science companies have become common--in January, Mayo Clinic announced a strategic partnership with diagnostics company Silicon Valley Biosytems to advance medicine through genomics.

To learn more:
- read the Intermountain announcement
- read the Deseret News article

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