Researchers test and validate platform for potential PPE tracking across U.S. hospitals

A multidisciplinary team that includes a Vanderbilt computer science professor has established the foundation for an automated, up-to-date assessment of personal protective equipment across U.S. hospitals—work that got its start before the COVID-19 pandemic but took on greater urgency.

Significantly, the team developed a secure, third-party system to operate independent of federal and state governments as well as protect the proprietary information of hospitals and hospital systems. No universal database of U.S. hospital PPE data currently exists.

“This could be extremely impactful and important,” said Kelly Aldrich, associate professor of nursing informatics “This will direct the nation’s work in this area.”

Lessons Learned from the Development and Demonstration of a PPE Inventory Monitoring System for US Hospitals

Read article published 9Nov 2021 here:


An international system should be established to support personal protective equipment (PPE) inventory monitoring, particularly within the healthcare industry. In this article, the authors discuss the development and 15-week deployment of a proof-of-concept prototype that included the use of a Healthcare Trust Data Platform to secure and transmit PPE-related data. Seventy-eight hospitals participated, including 66 large hospital systems, 11 medium-sized hospital systems, and a single hospital. Hospitals reported near-daily inventory information for N95 respirators, surgical masks, and face shields, ultimately providing 159 different PPE model numbers. Researchers cross-checked the data to ensure the PPE could be accurately identified. In cases where the model number was inaccurately reported, researchers corrected the numbers whenever possible. Of the PPE model numbers reported, 74.2% were verified—60.5% of N95 respirators, 40.0% of face shields, and 84.0% of surgical masks. The authors discuss the need to standardize how PPE is reported, possible aspects of a PPE data standard, and standards groups who may assist with this effort. Having such PPE data standards would enable better communication across hospital systems and assist in emergency preparedness efforts during pandemics or natural disasters.

CDC funds Vanderbilt analysis of US PPE trends

The CDC is funding research from Vanderbilt analyzing daily hospital personal protective equipment on-hand inventory to measure trends, patterns or statistically significant changes in supply in hospitals across the nation, according to a Nov. 17 press release.

“We’re conducting data analysis on a medical organization’s average consumption rates to figure out if they have enough PPE and other essential items to provide for their teams,” Kelly Aldrich, DNP, lead researcher and associate professor of nursing informatics, said in the release. 

The project is a follow up to a 2020 project Dr. Aldrich led with the Center for Medical Interoperability and the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, which connected 78 hospitals in nine federal Health and Human Services’ regions. 

The project will support the CDC’s National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, dedicated to generating new knowledge in occupational safety and health.

CDC taps School of Nursing Informaticist to analyze nation’s PPE supply

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is funding research led by Kelly Aldrich, DNP, FHIMSS, associate professor of nursing informatics, to analyze daily hospital personal protective equipment on-hand inventory to measure trends, patterns or statistically significant changes in PPE supply in the nation’s nearly 7,000 U.S. hospitals. The project will support the CDC’s National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory.

What a unique nurse identifier means for the future

Published in American Nurse September 15th, 2021

To improve patient survival in pediatric code blue resuscitations, the Center for Medical Interoperability (C4MI) is exploring the concept of using a holistic learning system to measure caregiver task performance with a time-stamped process and medical devices. Evidence suggests that the value of understanding team and individual clinician knowledge development, improvement, and application may help improve patient outcomes.

What a unique nurse identifier means for the future

What a former member of the Soviet bloc has to offer Nashville’s health leaders

Via Nashville Business Journal »

When looking for technological advancements, few look to the former USSR, but one of Nashville’s health care leaders did exactly that when searching for a way to solve what is one of the industry’s biggest problems: interoperability.

Ed Cantwell, CEO of the Center for Medical Interoperability, recently visited Estonia to learn how the former Russian republic became a digital powerhouse.

“They designed a country that is more efficient digitally than any country,” Cantwell said of Estonia.

After gaining independence from Russia in 1991, Estonia’s fledgling government created a digital society, Cantwell said. The government created an interoperability platform that allows government records to work together.

According to government websites, Estonia created a decentralized system that links together services and databases. Since the system is open, new components have been able to connect with the system as they are developed, meaning social services, legal services, health care and voting all work on the same open platform.

In contrast, Cantwell likened America’s health care systems — with all its machines and systems that don’t talk together — to AT&T phones that could only call other AT&T users.

Interoperability is one of the greatest issues facing the health care industry, which is why the Center for Medical Interoperability launched last year with the backing of local health care giants HCA Healthcare Inc., Community Health Systems and LifePoint Health, among others. Because of the size and role those companies play locally, it’s also critical for Nashville that the health care industry follows the path of Estonia and finds a solution to the question of interoperability, Cantwell said.

“Where Nashville goes, the nation goes,” Cantwell said. “The opportunity exists really for Nashville to step up.”

Center for Medical Interoperability Moves to New HQ

Via Nashville Medical News »

In April, the Center for Medical Interoperability opened its new Nashville headquarters and a one-of-a-kind testing and certification lab in the oneC1TY development off of Charlotte Pike. The new facility’s striking interior was designed around the theme of “Follow the Flow of Data.”

The center is a 501(c)(3) cooperative research and development lab founded by health systems to simplify and advance data sharing. The center’s membership consists of health systems and other provider organizations committed to eliminating current barriers to swift and seamless communication of patient information among medical devices and electronic health records.

“The opening of the headquarters and launch of the lab are enormous steps toward addressing the difficulties that health systems share in getting medical devices and electronic health records to ‘talk’ to each other,” said Mike Schatzlein, MD, chair of the Center’s board. “All too often,” he continued, “this prevents physicians and other caregivers from having complete information about a patient readily available when they make important treatment decisions.”

The new lab serves as a research and development arm for its members to improve interoperability with the center’s technical experts and visiting engineers from industry working together to develop IT architectures, interfaces and specifications that can be consistently deployed by health systems, medical device manufacturers, electronic health record vendors and others. The lab certifies devices and software that meet the Center for Medical Interoperability’s technical specifications. Clinicians have the ability to explore the impact of technologies within the Transformation Learning Center at the lab to ensure solutions are safe, useful and satisfying for patients and their care teams.

“The lab will help bring about a ‘plug-and-play’ environment for healthcare in which there is assured interoperability and connectivity inside and outside the hospital,” said Ed Cantwell, president and CEO of the Center for Medical Interoperability.