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Extending closed-loop control to the management of chronic disease.

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  • 1Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN 37203, USA.


A closed-loop control process assures that a system performs within control limits by direct feedback of the system's output to change the system's inputs. We developed methods for the closed-loop control of system-based practice, using ventilator management as a model or test bed. The control system has three components: 1) an explicit end-to-end plan; 2) a record of what is done as it is done; and 3) an instant display of the status of each patient against the plan for that patient. The status display provides process control by showing the clinical team where corrections are needed while the team still has the time needed to act prospectively. We are extending these methods to the management of chronic disease. Their extension requires engagement of the patient as a member of the team, a coordinated plan across the care continuum, informatics algorithms to stratify individual patients according to co-morbidities and their current level of control, and a means of detecting the presence or absence of a reaction to each action taken by the team.

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