Johns Hopkins, Microsoft partnership to bring interoperability to med devices

In a joint effort, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Microsoft are developing a health IT system that can better help medical devices communicate.

The IT solution "will bring interoperability to ... medical devices, to fully realize the benefits of technology and provide better care to our patients and their families," Peter Pronovost, senior vice president of patient safety and quality for Johns Hopkins Medicine and director of the Armstrong Institute, says in an announcement.  

Through the collaboration, Johns Hopkins will revamp its Project Emerge. That initiative, FierceHealthcare previously reported, was set up at various hospitals to improve patient safety, collect and analyze data from monitoring equipment and medical records, and incorporate the information into a "harms monitor" for use in the ICU.

Microsoft will provide the technology while Johns Hopkins will provide the clinical knowledge. The new solution will integrate information collected from devices and will provide functions such as analytics, databases, mobility, storage and Web capabilities, the announcement says.

Pilot projects are expected to start next year.

Healthcare professionals previously have said that a lack of interoperability between medical devices and other healthcare IT tools represents both a safety dilemma and an ethical issue.

Michael Johns, M.D.,  and William Stead, M.D., of the Center for Medical Interoperability, said earlier this year that the "lack of plug-and-play interoperability can compromise patient safety, impact care quality and outcomes, contribute to clinician fatigue and waste billions of dollars each year."

Interoperability has been healthcare's main buzzword in 2015. It has been a primary focus of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, which earlier this month published the final version of its interoperability roadmap.

To learn more:
- here's the announcement