Mission Control: How a Patient Movement Resource Helped Healthcare Facilities During Covid-19

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In 2020, we witnessed the Covid-19 pandemic push the United States’ healthcare system to its limit — and beyond. Along with the dedication, expertise, and commendable perseverance of our healthcare professionals, it became clear that a unified management method of coordination, visibility, and insight into the available resources was necessary to take on the health crisis at hand.

A Centralized Resource to Assist Healthcare Professionals

In Kansas, staffed bed availability reached a critical level (especially COVID-19 beds), as it did in many places around the country —and the world. The system as a whole was strained beyond capacity. Visibility into the existing systems and processes throughout the state was insufficient.

Time was critical. Not only was a centralized system necessary, but the visibility, resources, and efficiency it would provide were vital to support the staff working on the frontlines.

Allocating and Managing the Resources Available

Mission Control is a software program that benchmarks a patient’s acuity and streamlines the care team’s decisions on destination and transport methodology. Based on proven success with the Care Collaborative under the University of Kansas Health System, Mission Control links sending facilities, receiving facilities, and local and regional emergency services providers to coordinate and organize the movement of patients through a healthcare system.

During the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mission Control demonstrated early indications of “hot spots” by identifying surges of transfers in other parts of the system — surges that, if sustained, had the potential to overwhelm the receiving facilities.

Receiving hospitals became saturated caring for patients during this surge, resulting in difficulty for sending hospitals in placement of the patients they needed to transfer. Seeing this issue as it evolved and in real-time, Mission Control added facility-capacity tracking and bed-sourcing services to its existing platform. The network and capabilities were expanded to include additional regional facilities, creating a better and broader picture of receiving resources and capacity. At the peak of the surge, Mission Control assisted in the movement of patients to and from Kansas resources and facilities in five neighboring states. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment requested Mission Control be made available to every hospital in the state.

One Year Later

Under the contract with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Mission Control has been working with the nurses, physicians, and other vital medical staff as a support tool and resource for 100 days as of February 26, 2021, and with the state since mid-2019. Mission Control’s support will continue throughout and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic with access to services, support, and data to enable patients’ efficient and sustainable movement throughout the healthcare system.

Together, we are all committed to the sustainability of rural healthcare, EMS services, and patient transfers’ vital role in all Kansans’ daily lives. We are all indebted to the partners and co-laborers across the healthcare system that have dedicated themselves to patients’ care before, during, and after the surge of Covid-19.

We’re not out of the woods yet. But thanks to our dedicated healthcare professionals at all levels of the healthcare system, we’re making progress.

Mission Control is honored to serve the healthcare system of Kansas and beyond by continuing to aid in the efficient interfacility movement of all patients.

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I have really enjoyed working with the knowledgeable and innovative staff within Mission Control! They have observed and created a dashboard that significantly meets our data abstraction needs. This information is in real time and we can access the data points we need very quickly. Mission Control has saved me hours of manual abstraction and I can now present this information to our physicians and leadership through creative charts and graphs. At Newman Regional Health, we are very excited to integrate Mission Control into our daily workflow and look forward to the valuable information the dashboard can provide!

Aubrey Arnold MS, BSN/RN

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We started using Mission Control a few months ago because we were struggling with finding patient placement and transportation. Mission Control helped with that significantly. MC is very user friendly! All staff has been so kind and helpful! They are always prompt with assisting us and do a great job in keeping us up to date and informed on any progress they’re making whether that be with a phone call or a message through mission control. They continue to work until transport has been found! We would be lost without them!

DJ Craighead, RN

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