Spring 2013

Technology Improves Collaboration and Patient Care

Dr. Arup Roy-Burman

Dr. Arup Roy-Burman

For any business, it's difficult to bring all the key players together in the same room at the same time to resolve a problem. It's no different in a children's hospital, but the stakes are much higher — the health and life of a young patient.

"That’s why we are exploring ways to foster more collaboration within medical teams, including referring physicians, and hold ourselves accountable for continuously improving communication processes that advance patient care," says Arup Roy-Burman, M.D., medical director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and director of Pediatric Transport, Access and Outreach at UCSF Benioff Children"s Hospital. Roy-Burman is spearheading a series of projects designed, he says, "to leverage the social enterprise."

Mobile Conferencing Carts

The PICU is an ideal place to pilot the first of these projects, which tests the use of mobile conferencing carts. Because the complexity of PICU patients typically demands regular consultations by multiple specialists who cannot always be on-site together, the wireless carts — which are equipped with audio and videoconferencing devices, high-definition cameras and access to patient's medical records — allow the specialists to consult remotely.

Mobile conferencing cart

Mobile conferencing cart

"We can reach people at home and they can actually see the patient, so we can walk through the situation together and discuss subtle changes," Roy-Burman says. "This can make a real difference in how we're providing care."

After the in-house pilot, Roy-Burman plans to initially use the carts with UCSF teams at San Francisco General Hospital and ValleyCare Medical Center in Pleasanton, and later at Marin General Hospital. A next step will be to deploy the carts in emergency rooms at other area hospitals. Even families of children being prepped for transfer could join a teleconference to begin their interaction with specialty teams.

"Ultimately, we would like to use the carts to invite our referring physicians virtually to the bedside, to round jointly with us the morning after admission," Roy-Burman says.

Customer Relationship Management

A second pilot is a collaborative effort with cloud-computing giant Salesforce.com. This project will use proven business tools to improve relations with the hospital's "customers," its patients and providers. Customer relationship management (CRM) solutions will enable referring physicians to get their patients into UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital more efficiently and to collaborate with UCSF specialists in the ways that are most convenient for the referring physicians.

The application will build a database of referring physicians and their practices that will include frequently updated contact numbers and email addresses, how and how often the referring physician wants to be contacted, and the specialist at UCSF with whom the referring physician is working.

"On a real-time basis, it will help us understand and quickly improve our performance on essential services like transfers, transports and advice calls," Roy-Burman says. "Our colleagues outside of UCSF should notice a real difference, and we're hopeful that these projects will demonstrate new and exciting ways to enhance clinical integration and collaboration."

For more information, contact Dr. Roy-Burman at (415) 476-5153.

     

Spring 2013 Table of Contents

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