Rice County District Hospital Improves Clinical Outcomes by Using Motient’s Mission Control

Motient, a pioneer in patient movement solutions, announced today that Rice County District Hospital (RCDH), a critical access hospital in rural Kansas, has reached a two-year milestone using its Mission Control platform. For the past two years, RCDH has relied on the patient movement and communications platform to broaden its reach and secure appropriate care for critical patients. RCDH has a track record of success using Mission Control to expedite emergent patient transfers, secure specialist consultations, and coordinate interfacility transport across a large geographical region.

As a 25-bed critical access hospital, RCDH provides emergency services to residents of Rice County and the surrounding areas, with a lean staff of 160. The facility is a designated Level IV Trauma Center, and acts quickly to stabilize critically ill or injured patients before transferring them to a higher level of care at a larger hospital. Without a surgeon in-house, approximately 40% of RCDH’s patients require a higher level of care facility transfer.

In May 2020, RCDH implemented Motient’s Mission Control platform as part of the company’s partnership with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) to manage emergent patient transfers. All state hospitals had access to Motient’s patient movement software and services to find available beds, arrange appropriate transportation, and streamline the patient transfer process.

“Implementing Mission Control was like gaining another two team members. The system performs all the patient transfer-related administrative tasks that our physicians and RNs previously did,” said Bonnie Goans, RN, trauma/emergency preparedness coordinator at Rice County District Hospital. “Now we can quickly coordinate transfer and transport across greater distances, making our world smaller and giving patients more and better options for care.”

When COVID-19 surges strained hospital capacity across the state, the two Level 1 trauma centers that normally received RCDH’s transfer patients were routinely on diversion, with no available beds. The team would spend hours calling potential receiving facilities in search of an available placement, starting with the ones closest to RCDH and working their way out. With just a few clinicians working each shift, this time-consuming process had a negative impact on patient care at the bedside. During the pandemic, Mission Control helped RCDH transfer patients to facilities in seven states, including Oklahoma, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri.

Implementing Mission Control has broadened RCDH’s patient transport reach, expedited patient transfers, and improved inpatient care. As soon as the team receives a patient report from its Emergency Medical Services (EMS) agency, they assess the acuity of the patient’s condition in Mission Control. The Motient team handles the search for an appropriate bed placement, and coordinates with hospital administrators to authorize and confirm transfer and transport.

If the RCDH team requires additional expertise while patients are awaiting transfer, Motient quickly connects them with cardiology, neurology, pulmonology, and other specialists for immediate telemedicine consultations.

When the transfer distance is greater than 90 miles, RCDH’s local EMS agency cannot take the patient, as the trip would leave the community without ambulance care. Motient then works with multiple ambulance services and flight companies to identify the fastest, safest method of patient transport, whether it be ground, helicopter, or fixed-wing aircraft.

“It’s amazing how fast we can get transportation to our hospital using Mission Control,” said Goans. “Our new ability to coordinate transport to facilities that are farther away and even out of state has given our patients transfer options they would never have received otherwise, which truly saves lives.”

For the 20% of America’s population that lives in rural areas of the country, accessing emergent care can be challenging. Due to financial constraints and thin margins, more than 130 rural hospitals have closed within the past decade, and 30% of the remaining rural hospitals are at imminent risk of closing.

Motient’s patient movement platform helps critical access facilities like RCDH establish universal workflows and standardized acuity assessments for emergent patient movement, which enables more effective care management. Facilities are often able to keep more of their lower-acuity acute care patients, which helps provide needed revenue.

“Our nation’s rural healthcare system depends upon strong collaboration between facilities, as we’ve seen firsthand during the pandemic. But without common infrastructure or shared patient movement data, it becomes difficult to match the right patients with the right system resources,” said Dallan Huff, president of Motient. “We’re proud to help vital critical access hospitals like Rice County access specialist care for their patients in need. Mission Control helps to ease the logistical burden of care coordination, which is essential for keeping emergent care available to rural Americans.”

To hear Bonnie Goans discuss RCDH’s patient transfer process in detail, listen to her interview with Sue Schade, principal at StarBridge Advisors, on ThisWeek Health’s Town Hall podcast.

Addressing Rural Healthcare Disparities with Patient Movement Data

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) collected and monitored statewide disease activity and resource utilization through Motient’s Mission Control, a web-based patient movement platform which tracked facility capacity status. In 2021, the platform was used by 122 Kansas hospitals to facilitate more than 5,000 patient transfers to 209 destination facilities, some of which were outside of the state.

KDHE used this patient movement data to help educate state policymakers on the capacity limits of the ecosystem, objectively demonstrating the need for action. The data helped leaders justify and enact mitigations to expand hospital and long-term care center capacity, including engaging the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Veterans Health Administration to provide short-term medical treatment for transferred patients.

Read the full article by John Sittser, director of analytics and business intelligence at Motient.

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