In normal times, Hospital IQ’s solutions use Intelligent Automation to dynamically align capacity to demand by giving our customers a 7-day census forecast, staffing needs, and discharge automation. But providing accurate forecasts can be difficult at the moment with so much still unknown about COVID-19. Transmission rates, hospitalization rates, whether the virus can be contracted for a second time, patient acuity, and the average length of stay with no confirmed medicinal treatment are all question marks right now.
In these uncertain times, as patient demand increases and hospitals adapt to accommodate this increased demand, three things hold true:
- Hospitals will need to know, in real-time, the number of COVID-19 patients (presumed and confirmed) that are in-house.
- Hospitals need to know when their peak demand will occur.
- The availability of resources (Med/Surg beds, ICU beds, ventilators, equipment, supplies) in their hospital, health system, and region.
Hospital IQ has enhanced our platform to help hospitals prepare for and manage this increase in patient demand.
Identification of COVID-19 patients
In this new world, which will hopefully be brief, the most important resource we can provide is a centralized, easily accessible source of truth that enables hospital leaders to effectively manage COVID-19 patient population amongst the other patients in their hospital. To enable this, we added a new feature set for identifying COVID-19 patients, both suspected and confirmed. Not only does this help coordinate patient care and ensure staff safety, but it also automates the collection and aggregation of data that is required by local, state, and federal government agencies. Our customers have quickly adopted this new functionality as part of their preparation for managing COVID-19 in their hospitals and health system.
Forecast of peak demand
As COVID-19 spreads across the US, hospital leaders will need to know when it will hit their region and how bad it will be. To help hospitals prepare, we have developed the COVID-19 Regional Dashboard, which is free and publicly available for any hospital to use. This dashboard can be filtered down to the county level, giving hospital teams immediate access to a precise date prediction of peak hospitalization and a 60-day forecast of Med-Surg and ICU admissions, beds, and ventilators that will be needed to support the influx of patient demand for that region. Upon using this dashboard, the CMO for one of our clients stated, “This is 120% exactly what I need to understand local needs. How were you able to drill down to county level data?”
Regional capacity coordination
Hospitals expecting a major influx of patient demand will need to find ways to maximize the use of available capacity in their region and, in some cases, create new capacity during this pandemic. Beyond turning an ICU into a COVID-19 unit, we will see hospitals and health systems working together to share resources, as well as creating additional bed capacity by turning hotels and college dorms into hospitals, and constructing field hospitals under giant tents. We are seeing this now in New York, as every hospital is working with the Governor’s office to share capacity, and the convention center has been converted into a hospital. Regardless of how each leader responds to the increase in patient demand in their region, one thing is certain; they do not have a tool in place to streamline the collection and aggregation of this data. They will most likely rely on a manually created Excel spreadsheet as the source that is being fed by texts, emails, faxes, and phone calls, which are all time consuming.
To assist in this process, Hospital IQ has developed the Regional Capacity and Resource Surveillance solution; a cloud-hosted, quick and easy to deploy solution, that helps health systems collect and share this information across their region. Through an intuitive, easy to use web form, each facility in the region (permanent or temporary) can quickly update their available resource capacity bed capacity, including overflow areas, equipment, and supplies. Once submitted, it is instantly aggregated and presented in a dashboard giving leaders, crisis management teams, and front-line staff the time and insight necessary to support the needs of the region.
Time is of the essence as hospitals prepare and manage through the COVID-19 pandemic. The time available to prepare and plan, the time needed to provide patient care, the time it takes to update data and formulate plans. Hospital IQ is doing everything we can to give back time to our customers so they can focus on doing what they do best, caring for patients.
For more on this topic check out my two-part podcast series: