Houston’s Decisio Crunches Patient Data for Better Care

Doctors and nurses in Houston’s Memorial Hermann Hospital scramble among hospital beds, making split-second decisions on treatment based on experience and a half-dozen blinking screens flashing different vital signs.

“There are a lot of data sets—plus, blood on the floor,” says Bryan Haardt, chief executive officer of the Houston-based medtech startup Decisio Healthcare.

It’s a distracting environment, to say the least, and Haardt says Decisio can bring some order to that chaos. Its software takes the data in those stand-alone monitors present in a typical ER and puts them into a dashboard on a computer or tablet screen, flagging items that need attention. “Today’s thermostats have more intelligence than most medical monitors,” he says. “This electronic triage allows caregivers to work more efficiently and give better care.”

He and co-founder Gray Hancock formed the company in April, after the software had been in a beta test at Hermann’s trauma care department for seven months. The men say they could have no better trial site than Hermann, one of the nation’s busiest trauma centers, which treats more than 6,000 patients each year.

Satisfied with the trial run, Decisio recently signed a licensing agreement with the University of Texas Health Science Center, which owns the intellectual property, to bring the software to market. UT developed the software in-house, using about $2 million in grant funding and a staff of as many as five software engineers for more than a year.

A Decisio screen looks like this: On the left side, there is a column that details all the procedures a patient has undergone, each with a time stamp. In the middle is a display with relevant vital signs and preliminary test results, along with a countdown clock that starts at admission. On the far right, recommendations based on existing patient-care protocols and real-time analysis of clinical data are given—say, call blood bank or consult neurosurgery. Data is highlighted in red, yellow, or green to indicate urgency.

“We’re not telling the doctor what to do,” Haardt says. He stresses that the software helps caregivers better assimilate patient information in an emergency care setting  based on their existing protocols. “If the doctor had time to look up the information in this way on their own, they would, but they don’t have that time,” Haardt says.

With the beta test in the ER ongoing, Decisio is expanding it into the Hermann’s intensive care unit, where 40 screens are being installed. For the ICU, Decisio is tweaking the software so that it emphasizes health data that’s more important for monitoring in an acute-care environment versus those needed in trauma care.

Haardt and Hancock describe the difference this way: In trauma, the data the software churns out helps clinicians save lives; in the ICU, where patients are often stable, the software can save money. To illustrate this, they point to research that showed a savings of $19 million just by implementing protocols … Next Page »

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