Providence in BC deploys enterprise-wide Care Coordination Centre
July 5, 2023
What used to be a time-consuming, manual process of hunting for information from several hospital systems, talking to different departments and at times physically counting staff to determine bed availability across Providence Health Care – which includes St. Paul’s Hospital, Mount Saint Joseph Hospital and Holy Family Hospital in Vancouver – will now happen with a single keystroke.
As the first healthcare system in British Columbia and the third in Canada to implement GE HealthCare’s Command Center Software Platform (CCSP), Providence has joined an ecosystem of like-minded organizations working towards better access and flow, and quality patient care.
Often referred to as a hospital version of air traffic or mission control, CCSP is designed to provide clinical and operational insights at a glance, updating every 30 seconds as patient care is happening. By quickly finding and bringing to the forefront potential bottlenecks, risks and other issues, the software helps hospital teams stay connected and proactively intervene with solutions.
What’s more, the platform enables all teams to see how their work fits into the bigger picture, whether they are an inpatient unit team, a departmental team or a hospital-wide team. This helps everyone delivering patient care prioritize their work to meet the needs of each patient in context of the needs of all patients (e.g. which inpatients require a CT scan at the start of the day to support patient discharges on high occupancy units, which medicine patients should the critical care outreach team round on next to reduce risk of deterioration and transfer to ICU.)
Providence is implementing six CCSP components as part of its Care Coordination Centre – Capacity Expediter Tile, Staffing Module, Patient Manager Tile, Discharge Prioritizer Module, Boarders Expediter Tile and Clinical Deterioration Module.
The AI-powered decision support software is hosted by GE HealthCare in its MS Azure cloud environment, and GE HealthCare is orchestrating the foundational work in terms of verifying and establishing the data feeds.
The first CCSP components, Capacity Expediter Tile with Staffing Module, will go live early this Fall. Data from multiple hospital systems will flow into CCSP, where it will be processed using advanced logic and algorithms to provide a capacity snapshot of all three sites at any given moment.
“Today, care coordinators flip between the Cerner electronic medical record, Kronos staffing system and additional housekeeping software, and make many phone calls to inpatient units to understand bed availability and make bed allocation decisions,” explained Providence Patient Care Manager, Access Services, Tiffany Ng.
“It’s like a puzzle that we’re putting together,” said Ng, who says being able to have the information automatically in one place for everyone to see, rather than on a piece of paper in her office or simply in her head, is game-changing. “It’s really great to see how technology has advanced and how it is helping us do what we do best – which is provide care to our patients.”
“We’re alleviating the administrative burden of hunting and gathering and focusing the conversation on problem solving rather than looking for information,” said Ng. “It gives us a site-wide view into beds, capacity bottlenecks, patient status and what needs attention in real time and it’s live 24/7.”
Engaging front line staff in the development of the analytics software is critical, she added. Through working groups, clinical nurse leaders, patient managers and clinicians from separate hospital areas provide input into how they’d like to see the Tile information displayed.
The Staffing Module is new functionality that will be added to Capacity Expediter and was requested by Providence front-line staff. It will display available nursing staff now and in the next 24 hours in context of current census and target nurse-patient ratios.
“The Staffing Module is something we have been leading,” said Ng. “We will be able to see in four-hour increments whether we have extra staff coming or if we are going to be short the entire day. Such valuable insights will help us make thoughtful decisions about which unit patients will receive care in,” she explained.
Adding the staffing column to the Capacity Expediter Tile helps provide a clearer picture of the challenges facing a particular unit. It allows decision makers to deploy staff from one area of the hospital to another where an extra pair of hands is needed, or to hold off on admitting patients to a particular unit if it’s expected to be full by midnight, for example. All of which helps to reduce pressure on staff at a time when burnout rates are extremely high.
The new Providence-led staffing functionality will now also be available to other hospitals who use GE HealthCare’s Command Center Software Platform, said Zahava Uddin, Managing Director, GE HealthCare Command Centers. “We don’t try to design and pilot things and see if they stick. Rather, if a client suggests a software enhancement to tackle a new industry use case that is important to the rest of Ecosystem, we think about it and find a way to make it happen,” she said.
A Patient Manager Tile, which will be the next CCSP component to be implemented at Providence, is what Uddin calls a “super Tile.” It uses data from existing systems to provide a holistic view of each patient, including key information such as important dates, flags, pending tasks, completed tasks, risk scores, patient-level alerts, care plan elements and other context-rich information to support care progression and discharge planning activities.
Providence Chief People, Nursing and Health Professions Officer Dr. Becky Palmer, who also serves as clinical informatics lead, expects to see a positive ripple effect from the hospital’s digital transformation.
“What we know to be true for our healthcare professionals is they have many competing priorities in their day, and a lot of that is hunting and gathering for information regarding their patient’s journey in the healthcare system,” said Palmer, adding that the biggest impact of the real-time analytics software is that it gives staff access to an accurate, system-wide status view from their phones, computers and other digital devices, as well as from the screens on display in the physical centre, so they can spend less time on coordinating care and more time on delivering care.
She applauds the coordinators who’ve been working hard to pull information together manually for so long and expects that similar to the way the hospital’s patient safety learning system focuses on “good catches,” the real-time visibility made possible by the command centre software will help to shed light on areas where staff can make a “course correction” to achieve higher levels of satisfaction and productivity, and improve patient care.
When the new St. Paul’s Hospital opens in 2027, it will boast a 2,800-square-foot purpose-built physical space, known as the Mr. and Mrs. P. A. Woodward’s Foundation Care Coordination Centre, which will house Providence’s dedicated cross-functional command centre team and feature a video wall with 16 large display screens. In the interim, the centre is operating with two screens in a dedicated room at the current St. Paul’s Hospital and staff are already experiencing the benefits of working together and in sync.