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COVID Care Demands More from Communication and Collaboration Platforms

· Steve Baum, VP, Products

Safe Care Delivery and Capacity Management Are Propelling Innovation

Steve Baum, SVP Product at PatientSafe Solutions

Health systems continue to rapidly innovate as they respond to the pandemic. Clinical communication and collaboration platforms must be flexible and adapt to the unique challenges of COVID-positive patient care workflows. The need for safe, efficient capacity management is an essential focus of COVID care. Today we’re sharing how one of our customer hospitals is using PatientTouch to expedite care collaboration, reduce the spread of infection, and care for patients who require isolation.

Expediting COVID-Positive Care Coordination

At this system, when a patient is positive for COVID, the test result is sent from the lab to the assigned care team via PatientTouch. The notification includes a link to the patient’s mobile clinical dashboard including medications, vitals, and nursing documentation. This helps the care team quickly determine the right course of action. If the attending physician enters an isolation order, an isolation icon is added to the patient’s clinical dashboard. The icon is visible to assigned and on-call care team members, as well as staff who interact with the patient or patient’s room — EVS and dieticians, for example. The icon provides an additional prompt to providers and frontline clinicians for visual triage and PPE planning. To help reduce hospitalist exposure, the primary nurse also sends a group text to providers outside of the COVID unit notifying them of the patient’s new status.

Reducing In-Room Visits

The health system also uses PatientTouch to help reduce the number of visits into a COVID patient’s room. By “bundling” care interventions like medication administration, specimen collection, and assessment of vitals, oxygenation, and I/Os, clinicians can curtail the number of trips into the patient’s room. Care intervention reminders and the ability to document at the point of care using PatientTouch enables more meaningful and comprehensive in-room time, avoids unnecessary exposure of personnel, carts, and equipment, and reduces PPE usage.

Delivering Care Remotely

The organization is also using the PatientTouch for mobile nurse call and virtual rounding. The assigned nurse can respond to an alert directly to the patient’s pillow speaker or room VoIP phone, listening to and validating the request, avoiding room entry until care supplies are gathered, and entering just once to meet patient needs. Similarly, patient rounds and documentation are completed via phone from outside the patient’s room, avoiding the need to gown in and out repeatedly during a shift.

Managing Infection Trends and Capacity

Finally, the Infection Control team has developed infection control reports using patient information collected via PatientTouch, the EMR, and LIS that leverages artificial intelligence to monitor patients, locations, COVID screening and test results, vitals, and nursing notes.  The reports enable the team to track patient population infection trends for capacity management and infection prevention.

It takes a team, our interdependent communities, and innovation to accelerate pandemic response and change the trajectory of impact. We’ve all seen pictures of our precious frontline care teams worn out from PPE burden. New mobile clinical communication workflows are helping reduce frequent PPE gown-ups/downs and disinfection cycles. Mobile, patient-centric task lists help reduce cognitive burden and enable more efficient execution of patient-specific care with fewer room entries and exits. Hospitalists can review and respond to lab results faster, expediting patient transfer to isolation to protect the frontline care team and other patients from unnecessary exposure. The Infection Control team can aggregate and leverage real-time data to evaluate demand for isolation rooms and support capacity planning and patient flow. The hospital benefits from a healthier staff, reduced PPE resource consumption, and planned access to rooms and medical devices without compromising what matters most — quality patient care.

Our Product team is collaborating closely with our hospital partners to rapidly innovate in support of COVID planning and response. Please contact your Customer Success representative or email us at if we can be of help.

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