DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – If you’ve seen the command centers during a hurricane, you can think of what’s called the Care Hub as something along those lines.
Duke University Health System tracks how many patients are in the emergency department, anticipated discharges, and surgeries at all of its hospitals. It also keeps tabs on how many patients are being transferred for care and from other hospitals outside of Duke.
“We’re able to understand who’s on our transfer list and get those patients placed, in addition to all the other patients. It’s centralized all the communication, so I know where everyone is sitting and who needs to come in, whereas before it was very very piecemeal,” said Mary Martin, who is the COO with Duke University Health System.
The Care Hub has proven to be crucial during the pandemic. It’s been used during natural disasters and was also implemented during the catastrophic Durham gas explosion.
“We didn’t know how many patients we would have, and so we were automatically looking across our system — how many ICU beds do we have? — so we could track that type of information. So, it’s used every day, and it’s also very helpful in disaster scenarios,” Martin said.
By the time COVID-19 hit, which has been a disaster of its own sort, they were ready. As of Friday, Duke Hospitals currently have 115 COVID-19 patients. By the end of the spring, Martin hopes to have new predictive analytics to help prepare, but they are already using data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to plan ahead.
“So, we can understand any models we need to put in place to care for patients. So do I need to open up an overflow area? Do I need more ICUs? So, we are looking at that data to help inform what care we will need, and actually, we look a month out.”
As new strains are making COVID-19 more contagious, Care Hub is a tool likely to be needed for months to come.