This unique innovation, a collaboration of public and private institutions, overcomes traditional challenges hospitals face during disasters, where large surges of incoming patients place a major burden on limited hospital resources. Through its novel use of technology, the Bethesda Hospitals’ Emergency Preparedness Partnership (BHEPP) Patient Tracking and Locating System empowers hospital emergency management staff with real-time information about incoming patient counts, severity status, and location, assuring key decision makers have the information necessary to make timely decisions critical to patient care. Early successes include 100% accountability for patient transfers between hospitals, and a reduction of a historically 30 minutes to an hour, paper-based discharge process to a matter of minutes. The destination hospital now has immediate access to electronic patient data on the portal and time to prepare for the transferring patients’ arrival.
The BHEPP Patient Tracking and Locating System directly supports HHS’s goals for protecting American’s health and safety during emergencies and promoting adoption and meaningful use of health information technology. It is a cost-effective, exportable model that promotes the re-use of existing hospital investment in technology and can be used to manage the flow of patient and information in diverse situations.
Ivor D’Souza, National Institutes of Health
Wei Ma, National Institutes of Health
Cindy Notobartolo, John Hopkins School of Medicine
Laura Lee, National Institutes of Health
Chandra Kola, National Institutes of Health
David Zhang, National Institutes of Health
Dwight Clarke, National Institutes of Health