How St. Joseph's maintained continuous capacity during pandemic


Having a capacity strategy in place and innovations such as an operational command center implemented are important in order for hospitals and health systems to be prepared for potential crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

During an April 12 webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by Care Logistics, industry leaders discussed how Syracuse, N.Y.-based St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center turned to its operational command center hub and real-time data analytics to navigate capacity challenges during the pandemic.

The presenters were:

  • Joseph Bick, MSN, RN, manager of Care Compass/hospital operations at St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center
  • Brooke Breunig, senior project manager at Care Logistics

Five key takeaways:

1. Hospitals and health systems must prioritize continuous capacity, especially during times of crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Continuous capacity means the organization has the physical capacity to provide care for whoever wants it in the community. This includes admitting patients in a timely manner from the emergency department and maintaining the hospital's ability to continue elective surgeries, Mr. Bick said.

2. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year, St. Joseph's focused on mitigating the hospital capacity problem using its existing command center hub, powered by Care Logistics. Fortunately, through their hub, they had many pieces already in place with a  focus on length of stay and discharge, data and intelligence to create real-time situational awareness, strong care coordination, and the ability to strategically prioritize and speed up diagnostics for certain patients.

"Our mitigation strategy to maintain patient flow on a regular day was the same mitigation strategy to maintain flow at the height of the pandemic,” Mr. Bick said.

3. By turning to real-time data analytics and its command center hub, St. Joseph's was able to avoid the "tipping point" at which a hospital can no longer provide critical services to the community, such as trauma care, ED services and cancer and heart surgeries.

4. Care Logistics applied a hub-and-spoke model approach to St. Joseph's command center hub, said Ms. Breunig.

"We work with many different areas in the hospitals – admission sources, the ED, the post-anesthesia care unit, nursing units and service and diagnostic service areas," she said. "All those areas are coordinated with the operational command center hub, and the tech we put in place supports those roles in the hub."

5. The command center hub, including Care Logistics tech, solves historical challenges St. Joseph’s had moving patients through the system using the EHR alone. The center drives bi-directional communication across the organization so that everyone has real-time, actionable information, such as available beds or anticipated discharges, at the right time, Ms. Breunig said.

Click here to view the webinar presentation.


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