The COVID-19 pandemic has posed a monumental challenge to hospitals everywhere – even if they have not treated a single coronavirus patient.
Across the country, the outbreak has led to the postponement or cancellation of elective procedures, causing operating margins to plunge 282% year over year (resulting in a median operating margin of -29%).
This might have started out as a matter of necessity, but now it is a question of trust. For many patients and families, COVID-19 turned hospitals from places of health care to places of health risk. Even as states reopen, some people will continue delaying elective medical procedures. In addition, the “stay at home” orders have resulted in fewer people showing up in the Emergency Department (ED) during the pandemic. Hospitals and doctors are concerned some people who need emergency medical support for non-COVID illnesses are afraid of exposure to the coronavirus at the hospital. EDs are open and prepared to care for patients safely during and after the pandemic. Others who had positive telemedicine experiences during the shutdown may continue to choose that option to avoid setting foot in a hospital or other healthcare facility.
How can hospitals reassure people that it is safe to come back?
The first step to rebuilding trust and confidence is demonstrating that a hospital has created a safe and welcoming environment. People need assurance that a hospital has implemented policies, processes and tools to monitor the flow of people through the facility and to ensure prompt response to infection.
At STANLEY Healthcare, we call that People Visibility. In fact, health providers across the country already use our RTLS solutions for people visibility – helping improve nursing workflows, patient flow, and staff and patient safety. But these data on the location and movement of staff, patients and visitors also enables highly granular and rapid contact tracing.
STANLEY Healthcare has just unveiled a new Contact Tracing solution* that is powered by our AeroScout platform – the KLAS Category Leader for RTLS in the 2020 Best in KLAS: Software and Services report.
With our Contact Tracing solution, each person in the hospital is assigned a wireless badge that stays in communication with the AeroScout platform. In other words, each badge continually updates the platform on the who, where and when of location data. Movement and location data are securely stored in an enterprise database, with access limited to authorized users. Should someone in the hospital be diagnosed with COVID-19, the solution can quickly identify anyone who may have been exposed to that person while at the hospital.
This capability helps a hospital focus its response where it’s needed – making it possible to shut down and sanitize only the affected area rather than an entire unit or campus, as well as to test or self-isolate only the exposed caregivers and patients. Just as important, it plays a key role in restoring consumer confidence – giving patients and visitors assurance that a hospital is proactively managing risk and taking clear steps to ensure safety.
Contact Tracing is one of many capabilities available using the AeroScout RTLS platform. For more information about Contact Tracing – and how it fits within our portfolio of RTLS solutions – review our Solution Overview.
*The Contact Tracing solution is a pilot release. The full, production release may differ in features and functionality.