Real-time data on COVID-19 admissions in emergency departments, information on positive coronavirus tests across the system, data regarding available supplies and predictive analytics proved essential for Seattle-based UW Medicine as it faced an early surge of COVID-19 cases.
Although the academic health system, as the region’s Level 1 trauma center, is accustomed to command center systems, it had little experience using real-time dashboards during a crisis of this magnitude
“We recognized really early on this need for central decisionmaking based on good information that is assembled on dashboards and using the data to make projections about where the pandemic might be going,” said Dr. Paul Ramsey, the system’s CEO.
Real-time dashboards have been used in healthcare for some years now, but Ramsey said the pandemic solidified their use going forward. “The need to do this so rapidly with COVID was a bit of a stress test, but it allows us to create better systems” beyond the pandemic, he said.
For NYC Health + Hospitals, COVID-19 has driven the investment in remote monitoring technology for patient rooms. Katz said staffers were put at risk and PPE was used more than necessary because nurses and other clinicians had to enter a COVID patient’s room every time they needed to check on them or if the patient called them.
Now the health system is exploring putting cameras and speakers in inpatient rooms. The cameras would be helpful for nurses since they won’t have to walk down long hallways to patient rooms only to find they don’t have on hand what the patient needs, Katz said.
NYC Health + Hospitals is also considering putting a tablet in every room; iPads were donated to the health system and used so patients could see family and friends because visitors weren’t allowed.
“Maybe people would like to see their relatives not at visiting times but at other times during the day, or maybe going forward, people would like to see relatives who don’t live in the area. We never really thought about it that way,” Katz said.