Future Bet: Ambient Intelligence

Ambient Intelligence


Ambient intelligence is Houston Methodist's term  for describing the plethora of technology that is measuring the placement and location of people, places and things in our hospitals. 

Through numerous projects and partnerships, we have figured out how to best use trackers, which has had an enormously positive effect on our supply chain. Our vision is to turn our efforts toward improving patient safety, quality and effciency. 

The goal is to find a solution that accomplishes the following:


  • Reduce cost and turnover times 

  • Prevent inadvertent loss of high value movable items 

  • Improve patient transport times and accurate surgical start times 

  • Recognize high performance by tracking efficiency metrics 


Currently, we are honed in on two major focus areas for ambient intelligence: 

1. Tracking key assets and operational efficencies across the hospital system 
2. Managing patient and clinician status to improve safety, quality and overall experience


Houston Methodist Center for Innovation relies on dedicated partners to execute on ambient intelligence within our hospitals. 

One example is the luminary partnership with Apella, an early stage technology company that strives to help hospitals. Apella uses cameras and AI technology to track 
everything in an operating room, ranging from incision start time to surgical instruments used. Apella launched as a pilot project in 30 operating rooms, and some of the key success metrics include improving supply chain ROI, reducing operating room costs ($100/min/per room) and increasing surgeon satisfaction. 

Another instrumental partnership is with care.ai. Its video and audio monitoring devices autonomously collect surrounding data, reducing time and resources typically spent on these manual processes and translating it into real-time alerts for clinical teams. Some of the key 
monitoring areas are patient fall prevention, clinical documentation, hand hygiene and more. 


Next steps for ambient intelligence are to expand into more inpatient hospital rooms. We envision a future where the hospital room itself can become a collaborator in the clinical care of a patient. 


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