[Updated 04.08.15 to correct final paragraph regarding the Carescape R860’s availability.]

Last fall, GE Healthcare released its newest critical care ventilator to European markets, the Carescape R860. The ventilator uses advanced lung protection tools and an intuitive touchscreen interface to help improve patient care. Among the functions of the device, Carescape R860 measures patients’ lung volume and potential lung recruitability, the ability of the lung alveoli to open, and titrating the appropriate positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) to allow better oxygenation.

Designed with clinician feedback, ultimately, the ventilator was created to improve patient outcomes and increase the ease of use for clinicians by addressing two key objectives: simplify function and mitigate harm. “This is about improving quality of care,” says Matti Lehtonen, general manager, Anesthesia and Respiratory Care, GE Healthcare. “The clinician’s world is not getting any easier. We don’t want to create more stress for [caregivers]. If they are overwhelmed by the device, they may make a mistake. This ventilator isn’t for engineers, it’s designed for clinicians.”

The ventilator, which premiered at the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine annual congress last year and has made rounds across other conferences in the US, Middle East and Europe, has been met with excitement. “The response has been phenomenal,” says Lehtonen. “This is a very special [product] for us,” he adds, emphasizing the amount of time, work, and clinician feedback that has gone into making the ventilator as effective and intuitive as possible.

I had the opportunity to see the device firsthand at the AARC Conference in December, and I was impressed at the simplicity of the touchscreen interface. I’m not a trained RT or ICU clinician, but it was clear from just a few minutes with the device that clinicians would have easy access to all the tools necessary for monitoring and evaluating patient vitals and managing ventilator settings, in just a few swipes of the screen.

Paul Hunsicker, GE’s global product manager, Respiratory Care and Sleep, recounts a clinician’s reaction to the device; he says, “Finally a ventilator that has been designed for a 5-year-old.” The clinician is oversimplifying, of course, because there’s no more complex or nuanced medical device than a mechanical ventilator. But the ability to customize workspaces and analyze waveforms across an entire 72-hour window is providing users the ability to “turn data into information” that can inform clinical decisions, Hunsicker says.

Users can customize their interface and swipe through a number of different workspaces, including a basic view, waveforms and advanced waveforms, split screen, categories, and historical trends. The customization is designed to appeal to all clinicians, in that it can provide an overview for those with basic knowledge of the devices but also allows more experienced users to dig in to the analytics.

One function in particular, the ability to go back and analyze the patient’s waveforms over a 72-hour period, allows clinicians to “recreate the past from a specific point in time,” Hunsicker notes, which can be useful following an adverse event. Clinicians can quickly trace back through patient vitals and use the data to better understand why the event occurred or what led up to it, which in turn can help prevent future occurrences.

The Carescape R860 is available in most countries globally today, with some exceptions. GE Healthcare has filed for FDA approval and is waiting to receive clearance. With the high incidence of ventilator-induced lung injury (which affects about 24% of ventilated patients), as well as the chronic problems of ventilator-associated pneumonia and alarm fatigue in hospitals, odds are the Carescape R860 will be a welcome addition to ICUs and long-term ventilation care facilities across the US.

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Mike Fratantoro is chief editor for RT. Contact him at RTmagazine@allied360.com.