What Hospitals Can Learn From Airlines About Buying Equipment
For critically ill patients on breathing machines, a simple step drastically improves their survival chances by almost 10% — from 60% to 70%. It involves programming the machine to deliver enough life-sustaining breaths, but not so much that it damages their lungs by overinflating them. Given that this intervention could prevent more suffering than many wonder drugs, one would expect that there would be zero market for a breathing machine that didn’t make lung-preventive ventilation as easy as possible. But in health care, few things work as expected. Fewer than half of patients, and in some hospitals fewer than 20%, receive this life-saving intervention.
One big reason why is that hospitals purchase technologies without requiring that they communicate with each other. The optimal air flow is based on a straightforward calculation using the height of the patient. Height data, however, resides in the electronic medical record, which typically does not communicate with the ventilator.