Marvels of the Med City: AWARE system seeks to revolutionize int - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Marvels of the Med City: AWARE system seeks to revolutionize intensive care

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Dr. Brian Pickering of the Mayo Clinic is one of three doctors who reimagined and drastically reorganized the way ICU doctors operate, with a program called AWARE.

"In the past, we'd have kind of screens and screens of information that we went through," said Dr. Pickering.

It might look like a video game, but each of these squares represents a patient in the ICU.

"We reimagined the user interface for individuals, we spent a couple of years studying workflows and patterns," he said.

There's no more shuffling through clipboards of papers. By simply scrolling over one of the symbols that represent a patient's vital systems, doctors can get statistics, medications, medical history, even level of consciousness at a glance.

Research shows that the AWARE software has cut ICU errors in half and decreased the time it takes to get patients the attention they need.

"When we write our tasks out on paper, because we don't all share the same sheet of paper, we miss about one third of our tasks," Dr. Pickering said.

It's a far cry from the early ways of transporting medical records around the hospital through tubes. AWARE is now used in every Mayo Clinic ICU in the country, but Dr. Pickering doesn't want this to be Mayo's best kept secret.

"We've always been innovative, but we haven't always been successful at delivering those innovations outside of Mayo Clinic Rochester," he said.

That's where the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator center comes in. Al Berning is in charge of turning this invention into a business.

"The Mayo Clinic accelerator is a perfect place to start this business," said Berning.

"The objective of Ambient Clinical is to sell and commercialize the AWARE program."

Rooted in the BioBusiness center in downtown Rochester, Ambient is finding ways to take a Minnesota spark of genius and make it global. 

"It was a combination of our team's interest in creating another company in Rochester combined with Mayo Clinic's interest in commercializing some of the initial intellectual property and research," Berning said. 

Berning also said AWARE is marketable because of the need for efficiency in ICUs. In fact, Dr. Pickering can even put those thousands of pages of records and data into his lab coat pocket.

"Everything I've got on my computer I've got on the iPad, so I can come in, I can talk to a patient, I can show them precisely the information that I see," Pickering said. 

AWARE is getting doctors out from behind the computer desk, to the bedside.

"Medicine is about meeting people, talking to people, getting to know your patients and empathizing with them," he said. "If I spend all my time in the back room looking at this, I miss that connection."

Proving that sometimes what happens behind the scenes, is just as important as what happens inside your loved one's hospital room.

Ambient Clinical Analysis and the AWARE system are currently seeking FDA approval. When they do, it will become much easier to market the software on a national scale.

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