Situation Management Gives Hospitals the Power to Thrive Under Pressure

by | Jan 29, 2021

imageThe line between a crisis and day-to-day operations isn’t always clear—we’ve certainly learned that from the pandemic. When your landscape changes in an instant, your whole organization needs to adapt. At any scale, disruptions and time-sensitive events demand more insight, communication, and orchestration to maintain continuity of care and operations, even if they aren’t a full-blown emergency.

As COVID-19 stressed healthcare systems, many hospitals adopted a situation management model for handling the ongoing stream of changes and interruptions. Situation management allows you to manage the clinical, operational, and business impacts of disruptions and time-sensitive events by bringing all the information you need into a single view.

How do disruptions and time-sensitive events impact the entire healthcare organization?

A disruption is an event that requires deviation from standard operating procedures. Conventional emergency management covers major disruptions, such as a cyberattack , severe weather , or active shooter . Although the impacts of these events are serious, they occur infrequently. Less dramatic events can also be highly disruptive, however.

For example, a broken water main or a protest can upset traffic patterns in a way that prevents staff, patients, or EMTs from reaching your hospital. A refrigeration unit could warm up by a few degrees, causing COVID vaccines and other essential medicines to spoil.

A time-sensitive event is a little different. Time-sensitive events are expected, but they cannot be planned. Care teams are highly trained to respond to these events and have protocols and workflows to optimize outcomes. Yet these events are complex and highly fluid: getting everyone on the same page is challenging—especially for elements of care delivery that fall outside the EMR.

Time-sensitive events happen daily in your health system: incoming stroke or STEMI patients, patients with COVID-19 symptoms arriving at the emergency department (ED), a patient showing signs of sepsis. An elderly person with a fever and mild confusion may not raise red flags for a layperson, but in a hospital those signs of potential septic shock are like a starter pistol mobilizing a response team of nurses, physicians, pharmacists, lab technicians and more—and every second counts.

While a time-sensitive event is not a disruption, it requires an equally or even more well-coordinated response to prevent serious impacts—both for the patient and for the health system. Time is tissue, and time-to-treatment metrics reflect that. If a patient comes into the ED with stroke symptoms, care providers and care enablers must share information and manage multiple care transitions quickly and efficiently to achieve favorable door-to-provider and door-to-thrombectomy times. In the background, more members of the care team are mobilizing the neurology team, activating the angio suite, arranging and delivering imaging, and confirming the availability of a PACU bed.

How situation management changes the game

A situation management solution allows you to manage both disruptive and time-sensitive events at any scale, combining critical real-time health system capabilities with a robust set of crisis management functions. When we designed LiveProcess Aware™, we looked to situation management as the model for how hospitals and health systems will coordinate clinical, operational, and environmental responses to a full range of events.

One critical capability is workflow orchestration. As in the stroke example above, many health system workflows look more like a spiderweb than a straight line. The shape that web takes can depend upon several inflection points: who is on call to consult with the transferring ED on a possible stroke patient, what is the estimated ETA, is neurosurgery team on call or on premises, does the imaging on arrival indicate further deterioration, does the patient match the characteristics for proceeding with thrombectomy?

Some care team members, for example the attending neurologist or ED physician, will be part of this workflow from start to finish. Others, such as imaging or anesthesiology, will be mobilized only after specific conditions are met. Workflow orchestration tools like LiveProcess Aware bring each care delivery participant into the information flow, but only when they need to be. Using functions such as automated triggers or cascading notifications to direct informational traffic, activates a response from the right people at just the right time.

A cloud-native situation management solution like LiveProcess Aware can also orchestrate workflows among multiple sites and community partners. Consider a water main break, and all the moving parts that will need to be adjusted dynamically to maintain continuity of operations and minimize lost revenue. All staff will need to be notified if the emergency alternative water source is non-potable, and procedures and operations will need to be prioritized according to the length of the interruption. If elective procedures are postponed or ambulances are diverted, rebalancing staff will reduce the cost of disruptions. Remote home health care workers can identify and direct aid to at-risk home health patients through police or fire departments. If—as happened to one LiveProcess customer — hospital leaders are out of town when all this occurs, centralized situational awareness permits them to orchestrate an effective response from anywhere via the cloud

Situation management technology unites your entire health system on a single platform, surfacing key information so you can react to disruptions and time-sensitive events in real time and dynamically rebalance operations for optimal outcomes.

With LiveProcess Aware, you can:

  • Drive your business more effectively through active vigilance
  • Achieve situational awareness and connectivity across your enterprise
  • Engage and adjust based on real-time insights
  • Respond in unison to highly demanding situations
  • Continuously deliver safe, effective care
  • Mitigate the impact of events affecting your bottom line

A real-time situation management solution for the future of healthcare

COVID-19 changed healthcare for the long term. What started as a crisis became the new normal, forcing health systems to look for new efficiencies, work across disciplines, and pool resources. Real-time situation management is the right model for our fast-evolving healthcare landscape, one with the potential to transform the business of care delivery.

Next steps

On our blog: Learn about real-time health systems.

Discover customer stories showing how hospitals and health systems achieve the real-world benefits of LiveProcess communication technology

Learn how to make the business case for real-time healthcare technology.

Find out more about real-time enterprise-wide coordination using situation management technology.

 Request more information about LiveProcess Aware.

terry-zysk-100x100Terry Zysk, CEO of LiveProcess, has more than two decades of experience in leading organizations that provide innovative solutions to the healthcare industry.

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