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Sanford aims for efficiency with Intelligent InSites technology

MOORHEAD — The new $17 million Sanford Health Clinic that will open soon in Moorhead is equipped with technology from Intelligent InSites aimed at improving efficiency and patient experience.

The new clinic, three times the size of the current clinic in Moorhead, will open March 3.

The clinic has 52 examination rooms and will house 20 physicians and more than 100 staff members.

It will be the first location in the Sanford system that will implement the Intelligent InSites technology, which ultimately will be adopted systemwide in a $30 million initiative that includes software and hardware.

“This is a lab, if you want to call it that, where we will try new things,” said Jeff Hoss as he demonstrated the technology at the new clinic, where crews are at work preparing for the opening.

Patients, when registering at the clinic, will be given a device called a badge, a small radio receiver and transmitter, and a card.

Instead of sitting in a waiting room, patients will be directed to their room, which the badge will open, much like the “smart keys” hotel guests receive when registering.

Signs will direct patients and, when requested, escorts will be available for patients who need assistance.

Once in the room, providers will know the patient is ready to be seen. The nurse might actually wait a few minutes, to allow the patient to relax and get settled, for a more accurate blood-pressure reading.

Doctors, nurses and other caregivers have work stations in a provider corridor that is invisible to patients, where they will consult and can look at monitor screens informing them with up-to-the-minute information.

Medical devices will be equipped with badges, allowing their location to be tracked. Medicine refrigerators will have monitoring sensors to ensure that medications are kept at the proper temperature.

“What we’re using it for is to help our work flows,” Hoss said.

For patients, that should mean less time waiting, and a more seamless health care delivery, as care providers come to the patient’s room to deliver services instead of sending patients down a hallway to a laboratory.

Providers will be able to quickly analyze information to make the delivery of care more efficient, adjusting staffing as needed in a way that will be more cost-effective, Hoss said.

They will be able to identify bottlenecks. Better workflows will improve satisfaction for both patients and providers, he said.

The system will help providers glean “operational intelligence” from constantly updated information streams involving flows of patients, providers, medications and supplies to improve efficiency.

For example, if 20 nurses each can save one minute an hour, they will save a thousand hours over a year, Hoss said. “That’s one position in the building,” he said.

One study found that during an eight-hour shift, nurses can spend one or two hours looking for something — doctors, medical equipment or supplies — resulting in wasted time and effort.

“This is something we’re fortunate to have here,” Hoss said of Intelligent InSites’ technology, which is being adopted by some large health care organizations, including Veterans Affairs medical centers and Group Health based in Seattle. “It’s cutting edge.”

The Intelligent InSites technology will be added to Sanford’s downtown medical centers in Fargo and Sioux Falls, S.D., in the next several months.

Additional locations added in later phases will include Thief River Falls, Bemidji and Worthington in Minnesota; Bismarck and Dickinson in North Dakota; and Aberdeen in South Dakota.

Doug Burgum, president and chief executive of Intelligent InSites, said the partnership with Sanford will help to foster innovation as the two work together.

“We’re excited because Sanford is a demonstrated leader in health care,” he said. “Together, we’re going to be able to do some great things in driving innovation in health care.”

Because of the complexity of health care, it has been difficult to bring efficiencies to medicine, since no two patients are alike, Burgum said.

Now, by combining sensors and software that automatically deliver accurate information without any keyboarding, the door has opened to make health care much more efficient, he said.

“There are so many opportunities for gains in productivity,” Burgum said.

Health providers that are using the technology share uses and swap information, helping to foster improvements and new applications.

“There’s a lot of innovative things that are happening,” Burgum said.

Support for Intelligent InSites’ “strategic partnership” with Sanford comes from the very top, with Kelby Krabbenhoft, president and chief executive, he said.

“Sanford is completely committed to improving the patient experience,” Burgum said. “They may emerge as the leader of this because of their commitment. That’s part of our excitement.”