Representatives from a number of health systems who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic come together each week to collaborate, share the lessons they’re learning, the successes they’re having and the best practices they’re implementing to protect patients and caregivers. TeleTracking’s clinical team members also join the calls to offer additional insights and advice.
Recently featured: Huntington Hospital, SSM Health and Freeman Health System.
Huntington Hospital, part of Northwell Health ▪ Huntington, NY
William Folk, Director, Patient Logistics
Established in 1916, Huntington Hospital is a full-service, 371-bed, nonprofit community hospital serving Huntington Township and the surrounding communities. Huntington Hospital has been a member of Northwell Health since 1994 and shares the system’s dedication to providing world-class service and compassionate care that is focused on the patient.
- The 23 hospitals of Northwell Health have been at the epicenter of the COVD-19 pandemic.
- The role of patient logistics in safely and effectively managing patient flow has been critical.
- Huntington Hospital increased capacity by converting the PACU, cath lab and a vacant emergency department into additional space. Nurses who previously worked in those areas stretched what they were capable of doing to heroic levels by treating critical care, ventilated patients.
- With the help of TeleTracking, real-time bed availability was visible and played a critical role in getting patients safely to the right place.
- Load-balancing across the system ensured sister hospitals were not being overwhelmed.
- Projected census provides a quick snapshot of bed availability, helping determine the flow of the day. It also helps the C-suite communicate across the Northwell organization regarding how many patients can be accepted.
- When COVID patients are discharged, the team plays “Here Comes the Sun” over the loudspeaker. It's inspirational for the staff to see the good in all of this and return those patients home safely—it helps morale and keeps everyone's spirits high.
SSM Health ▪ St. Louis, MO
Stacey Miller, Director, Transfer Center
SSM Health in St. Louis consists of eight hospitals—six adult acute care hospitals, one pediatric facility, and one behavioral health facility. The health system command center manages patient placements and transfers for all sites – totaling 1922 beds.
- Major health systems in St. Louis are working together through the Metropolitan St. Louis Pandemic Task Force to help support the local and federal government agencies in setting up community resources, such as alternative care sites.
- All hospitals were challenged to increase bed capacity in two phases—first to 140% and then in the second phase to 180%.
- TeleTracking’s SynapseIQ® enterprise COVID capacity and census dashboard is displayed in the regional incident commander—for an at-a-glance look at where COVID patients are located, ventilator usage and overall capacity. The dashboard has helped in making load balancing decisions.
- The team has added COVID and ventilator icons to the TeleTracking Patient Tracking Portal boards—making it possible to run reports on attributes and minimize the tedious and manual tracking.
- Reports are distributed to regional leaders, as well as the C-suite at each SSM hospital to look at capacity information and know when to move forward and enact the next phase—such as turning PACUs and cath labs into ICUs.
- Alternative care sites are where different local, state and federal and state agencies work together to turn a space, such as hotel, into a care site. The team did this in 96 hours, operationalizing a hotel into an alternate care site for low-acuity COVID patients. These patients are ready to be discharged from an acute-care facility, but still need to remain on quarantine or isolation for a period of time. Discharging them to their own home is not an option because they may have a loved one who is elderly or immunocompromised. Or their home may be an assisted living facility or homeless shelter that is not taking back COVID patients until they have reached the end of their quarantine period.
- SSM Health is the central point of contact for these placements—they obtain the patient information and the discharging doctor's information, then connect the discharging doctor to the ACS doctor and facilitate the acceptance. Then they get the room number and arrange the transportation.
- When COVID patients are discharged, at one hospital, the team plays “Here Comes the Sun.” At another ministry, they play the song “Happy.” The staff dances and the patient gets a big cheer. It really engages everyone and gives them something positive to look forward to.
Freeman Health System ▪ Joplin, MO
Anita Bowers, IT Clinical Analyst
Amber Kinder, Director of Nursing Resources
Freeman in Joplin, Missouri, is a 460-bed, three-hospital system providing comprehensive healthcare and behavioral health services to an area that includes more than 450,000 from Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. The health system is composed of Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center, their behavioral health division.
- Freeman Health System started limiting visitors in mid-March to one person, per patient, per day—and wanted to track them. The team decided to use the miscellaneous field in the patient placement details section of TeleTracking. By entering the date, visitor name, and arrival / departure time, a patient audit report would list visitor information. Despite having to train 250 employees and volunteers on this process, the program was live in a few days.
- Regarding patient transport, adjustments were made to prioritize transporting patients over transporting items—which is a typical request for a transporter. The team arrives within 30 minutes of the request to pick up the discharged patient 99% of the time.
- At 9AM there is a quick meeting with the social worker on the floor and discharge RNs, Monday-Friday, to make sure patients receive any necessary education and are moved to the discharge lounge. And every day at 10AM, there is a bed huddle where confirmed discharges are reviewed, including which patients can leave by 11AM as well.
More information about the resources available to health systems to manage operations during COVID-19 are available at teletracking.com/resources.