by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | October 20, 2021
Hospitals in Oregon will be the first in the U.S. with access to GE Healthcare’s new automated statewide hospital bed management solution, which is designed to help track and manage bed capacity in ICUs and ERs.
Known as the Oregon Capacity System, the platform utilizes GE’s command center software to report the number of available beds throughout the state to clinicians so that they can make timely decisions on whom to assign a bed and where. It is expected to help not just with the pandemic but in areas that are frequently plagued by natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires.
Leading its deployment in Oregon will be Apprise Health Insights, which is aiming to have the system in use at every hospital in the state by the summer of 2022.
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"Access to near-time bed availability data helps us reduce the workload of healthcare workers by removing time spent collecting data and calling around to hospitals across the state to find updated information on bed availability. This helps us manage staffing, allows caregivers to prioritize their time and helps alleviate burnout," Helene Anderson, regional director of capacity and throughput at Providence, a Catholic network of hospitals in Oregon, told HCB News.
In the last few months, surges in COVID and Delta cases have resulted in bed shortages and staffing shortages. This, in turn, has led hospitals to once again postpone elective and non-urgent procedures
for several weeks. At the end of September, only 53 available adult ICU beds out of 645 were free in Oregon, said the Oregon Health Authority.
By tipping off hospitals about the number of beds available in the state, the OCS is expected to help providers better utilize resources and determine how many staff members they need per location at different times. The software eliminates the need for individual hospitals to manually track capacity information, which often leads to outdated reports that incorporate data up to a week old. Instead, it reports information in near-real time, which allows hospitals to expedite and escalate transfers to the nearest locations with available beds and to avoid delays.
It currently tracks 7,368 beds and approximately 800 ventilators across 60 hospitals and processes 4.2 million data points per day. Initially beginning in March 2020, the project has helped hospitals save 45,000 hours of labor and in turn, roughly $3 million in productivity.
Apprise Health Insights and GE Healthcare are now expanding the system to track other resources, including acute, pediatric, ICU, specialty, rehab and psych bed availability data. Whereas Apprise Health Insights will lead the operation of the system, a governance group of hospital and healthcare leadership and advisors from other stakeholders will provide overall system management and oversight.
OCS will also be able to manage PPE, emergency department and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation availability, with the information pulled directly from EMRs of every hospital in Oregon and fed into the OCS system. The system will be all fully automated in near real-time, ensure patient privacy is protected, and be capable of processing more than five million data points each day. Information will be made available to all participating hospitals via a website that they can access from any device or projected on a screen that is refreshed every five minutes.
"Florida has already implemented a similar system. GE Healthcare and Apprise Health Insights are currently in discussion with several other states and federal agencies about expanding the tool across the country," Jeff Terry, CEO of Clinical Command Centers at GE Healthcare told HCB News.