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CHI Franciscan Activates First AI-Powered Hospital Mission Control Center in Washington State

CHI Franciscan Activates First AI-Powered Hospital Mission Control Center in Washington State

CHI Franciscan announced the launch of its Mission Control Center, focused on enhancing services, optimizing patient care, and increasing its capacity to serve more patients throughout eight of its acute care hospitals. The 1,300-bed health system, one of the largest in Washington state, sees nearly 325,000 ER visits and over 300,000 inpatient days each year.

Built in collaboration with GE Healthcare, the Mission Control Center harnesses artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced analytics to coordinate patient care and resources across the entire health system, streamline care delivery and improve health outcomes. By streaming real-time data on key aspects of patient care like forecasted demand, transfers between facilities, care progression, and discharge planning, staff can direct resources to areas of high need and give health care providers the critical information necessary to best care for patients.

“As the region continues to grow, we are constantly finding innovative solutions to increase access to our premier caregivers and services for our communities,” said Ketul J. Patel, CEO of CHI Franciscan. “Our new Mission Control Center will complement the work of our care teams to increase access and ensure the highest quality care and experience is provided to our patients and families.”

Inspired by NASA’s mission control center, CHI Franciscan’s Mission Control houses an 18-screen video wall with 12 analytic tiles, or apps, that provide actionable, real-time data from each hospital. The system uses AI algorithms to identify potential issues in real time, allowing care teams to proactively solve problems and improve care rather than react when issues arise. CHI Franciscan is the first hospital system in the state of Washington, and the fifth globally, to advance patient care using this leading-edge technology. CHI Franciscan is also the first to be enabled by Microsoft Azure, which provides a high level of protection and security for moving protected health information (PHI) to the cloud, helping to ensure privacy of patient data.

“CHI Franciscan’s commitment to innovate for patients has been evident from the first interaction. You can see that in the structure of its Mission Control: an offsite center with satellites at three hospitals, physicians on duty, and using AI to take on new problems like optimal observation patient management,” said Jeff Terry, CEO of GE Clinical Command Centers. “The exciting thing is that CHI Franciscan’s Mission Control is already making a difference, and today is just the beginning. There is so much in the works to take this to even greater heights. It’s an honor to serve the CHI Franciscan team.”

The Mission Control technology not only provides a holistic overview of eight hospitals in the system, but provides patient-level details to support improvements such as:

Right bed, right place, on time — Centralizing bed placement allows staff to manage bed assignment workflow, assign patients to beds, prioritize which patient gets the next bed, and place external/intra-system transfers. Essentially, staff can appropriately manage patients across the entire system to get them in the right bed, transferred to the right unit/facility, or discharged in a timely manner.

Boarding – By analyzing real-time data and addressing potential delays, Mission Control reduces the amount of time patients wait in the Emergency Department or a Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) for an inpatient bed to be available.

Staffing – AI predicts patient census levels 24 and 48 hours in advance with a high degree of accuracy. By predicting future demand, actions can be taken one or two days ahead to fill anticipated staffing gaps, assuring patients are cared for by the appropriate care teams.

Streamline discharge process – Real-time data and predictive analytics track each patient’s hospital journey, including identifying potential care delays or bottlenecks, reducing wait time, prioritizing tests and procedures to get the patient home sooner and opening a bed for another patient who needs it. For example, if a patient needs a CT scan before discharge, but the CT queue is backed up, Mission Control will flag the patient to expedite the scan.

“With available healthcare information and advances in data protection and governance, researchers and physicians can now make data-driven, actionable and personalized care recommendations,” said Neil Jordan, GM Health Industry at Microsoft. “Working with organizations such as CHI Franciscan and GE Healthcare is accelerating innovation with advanced technologies like AI, driving excellence in healthcare delivery and improving operational efficiencies across the healthcare ecosystem.”

Based in Gig Harbor, the Mission Control hub serves as a central axis for system-wide collaboration with three satellite locations at St. Francis Hospital (Federal Way), Harrison Medical Center (Silverdale) and St. Joseph Medical Center (Tacoma). Mission Control’s integrated staff of physicians, house supervisors, nurses, providers, and other health administrators are responsible for expediting admissions, monitoring bed capacity and transfers, and routing patients to appropriate CHI Franciscan facilities. Future phases will follow with a rapid expansion to other focus areas such as observation patient management, discharge planning, post-acute care planning, surgical flow and census forecasting.