Source: Microsoft

GE Healthcare is extending its longtime collaboration with Microsoft to launch a cloud-based COVID-19 patient monitoring software for health systems.

GE Healthcare had originally intended to debut its Mural Virtual Care Solution at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society meeting earlier this year. When the COVID-19 epidemic scuttled those plans the company went redesigned the software offering — initially intended to be a new feature for its Edison platform — to focus on a COVID-19 application that could be distributed quickly to hospitals that need it using Microsoft’s Azure Cloud.

GE Healthcare and Microsoft are waiving everything but the installation costs for the software until January 2021, the companies said.

The software is designed to provide a central hub from which hospital staff can monitor patients in intensive care units — including those on medical ventilation.

As Dr. David Rhew, the chief global medical officer of Microsoft noted, the remote monitoring tools could help hospital staff limit their exposure to infected patients and help conserve needed personal protective equipment.

“If you think about what the solution was originally built on it was built on an on-prem solution that would take weeks to install and would take time to set up the servers,” said Rhew. “It clearly is a great way for us to more efficiently monitor… [And] because you don’t need to walk into the room it saves PPE… decreasing that risk… of exposure.” 

A Mural installation can monitor a 100-bed, multi-site ICU network with just three senior nurses and two intensivists, according to a company statement. The software collects real-time data from ventilators, existing patient monitoring systems, electronic medical records, labs and other diagnostics into a single surveillance hub, the companies said.

“Facing the daunting outlook of a COVID-19 surge, it is imperative that I and my fellow healthcare workers use virtual ICU technology to safely monitor and care for our sickest patients while preserving PPE,” said Matthias Merkel, M.D., Ph.D., OHSU’s Chief Medical Capacity Officer, Vice Chair of Critical Care Medicine, and Professor of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, in a statement. “Remaining closely connected and supported through technology enables us to progress our patients’ care across a geographic distance that we would otherwise be unable to manage.” 

GE Healthcare and Microsoft are bringing a COVID-19 patient monitoring tool to health systems