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Scheduling Services during an Emergency: Are You Prepared?

At VectorCare, we aim to make your everyday healthcare logistics scheduling easier. From scheduling NEMT, DME delivery, to home health visits and more, the platform is designed to streamline the coordination of daily services. But what about more extreme circumstances? For facilities, fires, hurricanes, chemical accidents, or other disasters means straining to coordinate accurate logistics during a time of crisis.

When Kaiser Permanente faced evacuation during the Santa Rosa Tubbs fire in October of 2017, they were able to use VectorCare to evacuate quickly and seamlessly:

“With the fires rapidly approaching, KP used VectorCare to broadcast an alert simultaneously to all transportation providers that their help was urgently needed to move all patients.

“Within 2 hours of sending the VectorCare notification, they had 35 ambulances, 30 wheelchair-­equipped vans, and many other KP buses and medical transportation vehicles ready to evacuate the facility,” said Stark. “I can’t imagine that the team could have handled this sudden volume, and track where every patient was taken, as gracefully and calmly as they did, if they were still doing things the old way. This solution makes sense for Kaiser Permanente both from a day­to­day operations perspective, and whenever we need to quickly scale during times of crisis.””[1]

Thanks to the quick-scaling nature of the VectorCare platform, Kaiser was able to evacuate their patients at a rate of 4x the speed per patient of a nearby hospital evacuating at the same time.

In addition to speed, VectorCare solves another crucial issue during evacuation procedures: tracking patient movement & care needs. When several dozen ambulances show up to transport patients during a stressful situation, the number one priority is to evacuate patients out of the area of danger. Important details like tracking patient movement and specifying the level of care required for each patient can often fall by the wayside, and care quality suffers as a result. Regardless of the effectiveness of hospital staff, we know that any movement places patients in a high-risk scenario for safety and health outcomes.

With VectorCare’s bi-directional, cloud-based platform, quality of patient care doesn’t need to be sacrificed during an emergency evacuation. Care teams can track specific patient movement, what levels of care the patient was provided with, and receive alerts about any incidents or complications that occur during movement. Care teams can even instantly communicate details with service providers via our instant messaging tool. When the dust settles after evacuation, nurses can view a clear record of each patient’s movement and care.

Lastly, VectorCare works in a crisis simply because care teams know the platform already. Hospital evacuations can be messy and complicated. Employees are expected to execute a multi-hour (sometimes multi-day) evacuation plan using procedures which they have very little experience with. By using VectorCare to streamline patient evacuations, nurses and care team members are utilizing an application they are already strongly familiar with. This allows the evacuation to run far more smoothly.

Under CMS’s new Emergency Preparedness Requirements[2], facilities in evacuation mode must have plans in place for “coordinating patient care within the facility and across different healthcare providers”. VectorCare enables seamless communication for patient services everyday, but is ready to scale and handle an evacuation should disaster strike.

 

[1] LaFrank, Glenn. “Calling all Transports” kp.org. 31 January 2018. http:/hub.kp.org/20118/01/31/calling-all-transports/

[2] The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Emergency Preparedness Requirements for Medicare and Medicaid Participating Providers and Suppliers. Federal Register website. Accessed October 6, 2016.