Tampa General Hospital and GE Healthcare’s CareComm Saves $40 Million, Cuts 20,000 Excess Days and Reduces Length of Stay

Tampa General Hospital (TGH), in partnership with GE Healthcare, reports a $40M reduction of system-wide inefficiencies since launching their CareComm command center with GE’s Command Center Software last August. Utilizing 20 artificial intelligence applications (aka Tiles), CareComm helps to optimize minute-to-minute patient care operations with real-time actionable information used in CareComm and throughout the hospital.

CareComm’s Tiles include Patient Manager, Capacity Snapshot, Surgical Tube Map, Observation Manager, Discharge Barriers, Imaging Expediter and more. CareComm also created a digital twin of patient flow at TGH which was used to reallocate nursing unit capacities and optimize the surgical block schedule. More than anything, CareComm’s work has been to serve and enable TGH’s caregivers and care teams.

The program has helped TGH to operate at maximum occupancy, decrease average length of stay by eliminating 20,000 excess days, and reduce emergency room diversion by 25% for the level one trauma center that serves the entire West Coast of Florida. These improvements equate to 30 beds of additional capacity.

“CareComm is not only the center of gravity for our artificial intelligence platform, it’s the center of gravity for the entire hospital system,” said John Couris, CEO of Tampa General Hospital. “We feel sometimes that to fix a problem, we’ve got to build a building or build more capacity. We started to think a little differently saying, how do we drive value to the consumer by doing better with what we have and not just simply building more.”

“When CareComm opened in August 2019, a hurricane was approaching, and we talked about it being helpful during the storm. We didn’t discuss a pandemic, but it’s been a remarkably useful tool in the management of COVID-19 as well as for daily patient care operations,” said Everett Cunningham, CEO of US and Canada, GE Healthcare. “GE Command Centers are now operating in over 200 hospitals worldwide helping health systems and governments through COVID-19.”

In addition to GE’s real-time Tiles, the CareComm team rapidly implemented an early warning system to help anticipate COVID-19 hotspots in the community. And TGH worked with health systems in the local area to share capacity between them through each surge of COVID-19 patients.

“CareComm guides our hospital along the path of automating care delivery. Over the past year, our team gathered valuable patient insights from our command center which we’ve been able to apply to managing reduced length of stay and better patient flow for all patients – especially in the evolving era of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Peter Chang, vice president for care transitions, Tampa General Hospital.

TGH is also co-leading a statewide collaboration with other Florida health systems and GE Healthcare to manage beds, ventilators and COVID-19 hospitalizations in near-time called the Florida Capacity System. This new cloud-based system is live and will help to manage the pandemic as well as hurricanes and other challenges in the future.

“The COVID-19 crisis requires a regional response. We’ll keep working together with the Florida healthcare systems and have agreed to share

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Self-blame Reduces Qol for Parents of Food-Allergic Children

Parents who have children with food allergies and who blame themselves, vent emotions, seek distractions, and avoid planning for situations in which the food allergy may be a problem are just as likely to have poor quality of life (QoL) as parents who plan too much and become overanxious about their child’s condition.

Dr Rebecca Knibb

“We have two ends of the spectrum causing poorer quality of life. On one end, they are anxious and try to control everything and find it overwhelming,” said Rebecca Knibb, PhD, of Aston University, Birmingham, United Kingdom. On the other end of the spectrum, “we have some who don’t worry at all, they just think, ‘If there’s a reaction, we’ll give an antihistamine.’

“People need to come to the middle ground where they are concerned but not to the point of having anxiety,” Knibb told Medscape.

For example, if parents want to go out to eat at a restaurant, they can look at the restaurant’s menu online to make sure there are foods suitable for the child to eat. “That can help them feel less anxious when they go,” she said.

But if parents overplan by, for example, checking several menus, calling every restaurant, and getting mixed information, “they may get so anxious they feel it’s too much, and it stops them from going, from doing what they want to do.”

Knibb’s research was featured in the opening online oral abstract session at FAAM-EUROBAT Digital this week.

Knibb explained that although there are scales to measure how children and adolescents cope with food allergies, “we really don’t have a scoring system to measure how parents cope.”

By learning how parents manage the stressors of life with food-allergic children, the researchers are hoping to better understand what works and what doesn’t — and develop a toolbox of coping strategies to share with parents.

Parents completed a total of 1149 surveys, 835 from parents of children up to age 17 years who had been diagnosed with food allergy and who were living at home, and 314 from a control group of parents of children who had no chronic health conditions. They were recruited through online media, social media, and survey panels.

The parents who responded were from the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. About 80% of the respondents were women (81.7% in the food-allergic group and 77.5% in the control group).

In the food-allergic group, more than half the children had peanut allergy (54.5%). Other allergies included tree nut (29.7%) milk (42.5%), and egg (35.7%). About one third (35.3%) of the children had experienced an anaphylactic reaction, and more than half (56.5%) had been hospitalized

Parents With Food-Allergic Kids More Likely to Use Active Coping Skills

Parents of children in the food-allergic group overwhelmingly used more “active coping” strategies than in the control group. “We were surprised by this,” Knibb said. Those strategies included planning, acceptance, and engaging instrumental support.

Regarding how coping strategies correlated to QoL, the researchers found that

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New Landmark Study at UM School of Medicine Finds Aspirin Use Reduces Risk of Death in Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients

BALTIMORE, Oct. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Hospitalized COVID-19 patients who were taking a daily low-dose aspirin to protect against cardiovascular disease had a significantly lower risk of complications and death compared to those who were not taking aspirin, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM). Aspirin takers were less likely to be placed in the intensive care unit (ICU) or hooked up to a mechanical ventilator, and they were more likely to survive the infection compared to hospitalized patients who were not taking aspirin, The study, published today in the journal Anesthesia and Analgesia, provides “cautious optimism,” the researchers say, for an inexpensive, accessible medication with a well-known safety profile that could help prevent severe complications.

“This is a critical finding that needs to be confirmed through a randomized clinical trial,” said study leader Jonathan Chow, MD, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at UMSOM. “If our finding is confirmed, it would make aspirin the first widely available, over-the-counter medication to reduce mortality in COVID-19 patients.”

To conduct the study, Dr. Chow and his colleagues culled through the medical records of 412 COVID-19 patients, age of 55 on average, who were hospitalized over the past few months due to complications of their infection. They were treated at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore and three other hospitals along the East Coast. About a quarter of the patients were taking a daily low-dose aspirin (usually 81 milligrams) before they were admitted or right after admission to manage their cardiovascular disease.

The researchers found aspirin use was associated with a 44 percent reduction in the risk of being put on a mechanical ventilator, a 43 percent decrease in the risk of ICU admission and – most importantly – a 47 percent decrease in the risk of dying in the hospital compared to those who were not taking aspirin. The patients in the aspirin group did not experience a significant increase in adverse events such as major bleeding while hospitalized.

The researchers controlled for several factors that may have played a role in a patient’s prognosis including age, gender, body mass index, race, hypertension and diabetes. They also accounted for heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease and the use of beta blockers to control blood pressure.

COVID-19 infections increase the risk of dangerous blood clots that can form in the heart, lungs, blood vessels and other organs. Complications from blood clots can, in rare cases, cause heart attacks, strokes and multiple organ failure as well as death.

Doctors often recommend a daily low-dose aspirin for patients who have previously had a heart attack or stroke caused by a blood clot to prevent future blood clots. Daily use, however, can increase the risk of major bleeding or peptic ulcer disease.

“We believe that the blood thinning effects of aspirin provides benefits for COVID-19 patients by preventing microclot formation,” said study co-author Michael A. Mazzeffi, MD, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology at

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Cannabis Reduces OCD Symptoms Around 50%, Research Suggests


  • After smoking cannabis, users with OCD reduced their compulsions by 60% and reduced their anxiety by 52%
  • OCD is a condition characterized by persistent thoughts and repetitive behavior
  • The study was recently published in the Journal of Affective Disorders

A Washington State University study revealed people with obsessive-compulsive disorder experienced  a reduction in symptom severity within hours of smoking cannabis.

The researchers analyzed data from people who self-identified as having OCD, a condition characterized by persistent thoughts and repetitive behavior. After smoking cannabis, users with OCD experienced a 60% reduction in compulsions and a 52% reduction in anxiety.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association Of America, OCD affects 1% of the U.S. population. It is equally common among genders and about one-third of affected adults first experienced symptoms during childhood.

The study, recently published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, found higher doses and cannabis with greater concentrations of CBD were associated with bigger reductions in compulsions.

“The results overall indicate that cannabis may have some beneficial short-term but not really long-term effects on obsessive-compulsive disorder,” said Carrie Cuttler, the study’s corresponding author.

“To me, the CBD findings are really promising because it is not intoxicating. This is an area of research that would really benefit from clinical trials looking at changes in compulsions, intrusions and anxiety with pure CBD.”

The WSU study drew from data of more than 1,800 cannabis sessions that 87 individuals logged in 31 months. As people continued the study, users developed a small tolerance to cannabis, but reductions in compulsions and anxiety remained fairly consistent.

Traditional treatments for OCD include exposure and response prevention therapy where people’s irrational thoughts around their behaviors are directly challenged. Other mainstream treatments include antidepressants.

 While these treatments have positive effects for many patients, they do not cure OCD nor do they work well for every person.

“We’re trying to build knowledge about the relationship of cannabis use and OCD because it’s an area that is really understudied,” said Dakota Mauzay, a doctoral student in Cuttler’s lab and co-author of the paper.

Researchers are just beginning to understand uses for cannabis. Harvard Medical School reported cannabis is commonly used for pain control in the United States. While marijuana isn’t strong enough for severe pain, it is quite effective for chronic and lingering pain, especially for aging individuals. Marijuana is a muscle relaxant, and users say it has the ability to lessen tremors in Parkinson’s disease.

In states where medical marijuana has been approved for use, it is authorized for dozens of ailments, including agitation in Alzheimer’s disease, Crohn’s disease and glaucoma.

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