Future Bet: Care Redesign

Doctor with high tech white graphic overlay


Health care faces major challenges with staffing issues, diminishing operating margins and supply chain shortages. Houston Methodist is not immune to these challenges, and we are committed to finding innovative solutions. To this end, Houston Methodist Chief Innovation Officer Roberta Schwartz, PhD, has said, “If we don’t change in health care, someone will do it for us; it’s my mission to get there first.”


The Care Redesign initiative is about revamping the way we deliver care with respect to widespread labor shortages, staff burnout and the fact that clinicians often do more documentation and auditing work than actual clinical care.


We have three main focus areas for improvement:

1. Ambient intelligence – measuring the placement and location of people, places and things in our hospital to improve patient safety, quality and efficiency 
2. Virtual nursing – outsourcing heavy documentation tasks to qualified virtual nurses so that bedside nurses can focus on providing high-touch patient care
3. Remote patient monitoring – using wearable devices for continuous vital-sign monitoring for both inpatient and outpatient use cases


In each focus area, we are working hand in hand with dedicated partners to build the best solution for our hospitals.

care.ai’s patient safety and operational monitoring devices autonomously collect important data from the hospital room so we can identify and learn what current manual processes we can begin to automate through ambient intelligence. While these devices are currently being used for patient fall prevention, hand hygiene and clinical documentation, we are also testing new opportunities, such as automatically sensing incontinence issues in a patient’s bed.

After surveying our nurses, we found they were spending approximately 10 minutes per hour on non-nursing tasks. To address this issue, we launched a virtual nursing program for patient admissions and discharges, and immediately saw improvement in staff work flow and patient satisfaction. In addition, we reduced the time spent on documentation activities from 40 minutes to 13, resulting in an initial $17M cost savings by allowing our bedside nurses to focus on patient care. This program was initially rolled out on the MyMethodist Patient Engagement Tablets, but will move to two-way video and audio-mounted TVs in each patient room in our new smart hospital.

It is best practice for patients to have their vital signs checked approximately every four hours. While important, this task is laborious for hospital staff. To solve for this, we are exploring the BioButton from BioIntelliSense, a medical-grade wearable device for continuous remote monitoring. In the inpatient setting, BioButton can help alleviate the burden of medical technicians needing to manually collect patient vital signs on a regular cadance. On the outpatient side, we envision sending surgery patients home with this device to help prevent unnecessary readmission by catching issues sooner — before they become major problems.



Care Redesign is one of many efforts to uphold Houston Methodist's commitment to Leading Medicine. We place the highest priority on patient quality, safety and service by continuing to innovate and improve on the health care experience for all.


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