When COVID-19 hit Italy in March, hospitals had to quickly change their organizations to face the challenge of treating an exceptional number of unplanned patients.
They had to reduce or stop elective hospitalizations in favor of emergency patients, as well as redesign their spaces and patient flow pathways to keep suspected or infected patients separated from the non-infected.
In addition, the increasing number of patients requiring ventilation and intensive care treatment, well above the usual intensive care unit (ICU) bed capacity, led to some creative ideas on how to use some existing spaces.
Hospitals also needed to reallocate care providers across their organizations and recruit new staff to serve increasing patient volumes.
After patients had recovered beyond the need for acute care, the hospitals needed to free up resources to make space for the arrival of new patients. Recovering patients could, however, still be COVID-19 positive and therefore needed additional follow-up and care instead of just being sent home. To facilitate this type of care, hospitals and governments converted commercial buildings and community facilities into spaces dedicated to COVID-19 positive residents.
While TrakCare provides all the required flexibility for our customers to manage these rapid changes, many IT staff were already fully occupied and lacked the time to properly plan and execute the necessary configurations. The local InterSystems TrakCare team was able to step in and help in the following ways:
- Establishing a dedicated task force, operating 24x7 with members from Support, Implementation, and Product (Italian Edition);
- A dedicated InterSystems Support email address for urgent COVID-19 related requests;
- A regional point of contact for planning, managing, and escalating requests for support; and
- A process to track, document, and monitor the progress of requests.
To date, we’ve received and have been able to help our customers with 111 unique requests. These mainly focused on several things: first, reorganizing hospital facilities to accommodate new sites and wards, as well as lifting some access restrictions that control what clinicians can view in a patient’s record. Second, training was a must; we onboarded new staff quickly. The Italian hospitals also wanted new ways to export and share clinical information, especially around tracking and monitoring COVID-19 patients. And they wanted to use specific diagnostic tools, which had to be configured to interface with TrakCare.
Two major achievements were reached in record time. We configured the electronic record for an 80-bed hospital, fully dedicated to COVID patients, in only 7 days and configured an additional site, located in a hotel converted to a post-acute care facility, in a matter of 24 hours.
Simply put, TrakCare is working well since the rapid implementation. Working closely with the customer, we put in place established and proven workflows, simplified its use by providing automation tools, kept the ability to personalize the system (including allowing clinicians to order their favorites and simplify configurations), and sped adoption through online training classes.
Our customers in Italy, on the front lines of this pandemic, are the true heroes here. We’re proud to have done our part to support them and remain committed to their success as we all work to fight back COVID-19 together – and well into the future, as well.
This story originally appeared the May 6, 2020- OnTrak News Flash No.3: The Fight Against COVID-19 newsletter