INNOVENTION: A Medical Main Street “Behind the Scenes” Tour at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland

Last Thursday, we had the pleasure of taking a behind the scenes INNOVENTION tour of Medical Main Street partner, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital (SJMO). We started our morning in the impressive and beautiful, art-filled lobby where we enjoyed refreshments and mingled with guests who were touring from Burton Industries, Stryker, Infection Prevention Technologies, LLC, Remco Storage Systems, Inc., Magnolia by the Lakes, Virta Labs, Placement Management Center, Seniors Helping Seniors, Sterilogy LLC and even a robot from SJMO.

Jack Weiner, President and CEO of SJMO  welcomed our group and shared with us some exciting details about the hospital’s Intelligent Care System (ISC). The one a kind system was implemented in the South Tower last May. Since that time, its use has created a true healing environment and given a better outcome for patients. What makes ICS so special is that it uses integrated technology to monitor patient vitals, support fall prevention and provide direct voice communication between patients and the nursing staff.


Our first stop on our behind the scenes tour was to the Senior ED floor. Seniors make up the largest number of hospital patients and SJMO has taken measures to ensure their safety. By using special non-skid flooring, they have reduced the risk of falls, including when the floors get wet. They’ve also installed special signage and digital wall clocks with large displays that can be easily seen.

Our next stop was to Pathology where we met with Lab Director, John Hilton. John showed us SJMO’s new automated system that’s used for handling blood specimens. We were intrigued to learn that through this new automation, the hospital is able to maintain a positive patient ID throughout the entire process. The new system also allows for more flexibility and costs less, a definite win-win.

We also learned about amazing advancements for paramedics in the field. They are now using webcams to connect with doctors in the ER while they are on the scene. In the future, 911 calls will most likely be integrated with this feature. SJMO Paramedics demonstrated a Remote Visiting Physician System for us that’s available 24/7. It’s primarily used for wellness checks and to reduce return visits.


We headed to the South Tower where we were able to see the ICS in action on the 5th floor. As soon as we got off the elevator, we immediately noticed that it didn’t look like we were in a hospital. That’s when we learned that ICS uses art as technology. Specifically, certain art pieces are used to help patients and their families navigate each floor. For example, the art work near the elevator matches the art work at the corresponding nurses station to help make it more recognizable. As part of their plan to provide an exceptional patient care experience, SJMO incorporated curves, artwork from Michigan artists and zen into their unit designs.

We were notably impressed when we entered what looked to be a very high-tech patient room. The South Tower rooms offer state of the art technology for the patient and offer a family zone for visiting family members, complete with a work station, complimentary wi-fi and power sources. One of our favorite things was the Get Well Network which allows patients to watch videos that are prescribed to them by their nurse or physician. The videos are viewed on a large flat screen TV in the patient’s room and are used to educate them on their condition and give specific instructions on how to take medications. After watching the videos, they are able to confer with hospital staff and ask questions.


We also saw how the ICS uses smart technology via call lights that use different colors to classify a patient’s current status and prioritize care. The nurses also use a Nurse Call system to communicate with each other and patients by cell phone so that there’s no longer a need for disturbing overhead paging. Patients also have customized pillow buttons to let nurses know what a patient is calling about right away. Each room on the unit has also been designed to streamline processes. For example, they made sure it would be easy to administer care without having to reach over a patient or a family member. Additionally, each bathroom has a two way speaker in case a patient falls. Every room also had a Zenix machine in it, which is used to decontaminate and kill hard bacteria.

Our last stop was the nurse’s station. We were astonished to see that there was NO paper there. The nurses use a digital video screen as a status board. The status board allows them to see status of every patient and can go so far as to see what position a patient’s bed is in and if the rails are up or down. The status boards allow for real time adjustments and creates transparency hospital wide. This eliminates bottle necks and improves patient flow. The nurse’s station also uses Sotera which is a wristband that patients wear to track vitals. Since it’s inception, SJMO has seen a decrease in fatalities and length of stay; Code Blue’s have also decreased by 35%.

We thoroughly enjoyed our behind the scenes Innovention tour at SJMO. The technology was most impressive and we were very excited to see their progress. Thank you St. Joseph Mercy Oakland for a wonderful INNOVENTION tour!

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