“I cannot imagine going through the pandemic without Mission Control. We were stretched, but without it, we could’ve been in a crisis,” Dr. Sanjay Pattani, AdventHealth’s associate chief medical officer, said.
Mission Control tracks every movement during an inpatient’s stay, from the minute a patient arrives at the emergency department, to their bed assignment and scheduled procedures. In some cases, this process starts even before a patient arrives, as they are enroute with Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
“The emergency department is the first point of contact for Mission Control, and it acts like a barometer, allowing us to seamlessly balance the ‘front door to the hospital’ with the in-house daily progressions of care and procedural bed placement needs,” Pattani said.
The coordination between specialists from the Emergency Room (ER) and the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for nonelective, emergent care is a critical component of this system, Pattani explained, and Mission Control enables real-time juggling among patients from any entry point in the system, whether that is the operating room, post-anesthesia care unit (PACU), direct hospital admits from community physician practices, emergency department admits, or transfers from both within and outside the AdventHealth system.
“As the virus surged, Mission Control and its vertically integrated system played a huge role in guiding our clinical teams when capacity constraints dictated a need to pause performing elective procedures and when we could resume,” he said. “This ability to use artificial intelligence to predict capacity constraints is now a lifeline to our system.”
Creating Connectivity and Optimizing Patient Outcomes
Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Mission Control staff work behind-the-scenes to seamlessly guide patient coordination.
The team of more than 50 nurses, EMS and flight dispatchers, transport techs, and other specialists are impacting clinical care on multiple levels, from quality to operational efficiency. For example, patients admitted to the ER have gotten a bed assigned 15 minutes faster and ER admission to bed placement times decreased by over 23 minutes. Lateral transfer of patients from one hospital to another due to overcapacity increased by more than 600%, from 357 pre-pandemic to over 2,450. And the phone call abandonment rate for AdventHealth’s Transfer Center decreased from 8 percent to 3 percent. Transport times among interhospital transfers have also decreased over 15 minutes.
“This connection allows for simultaneous coordination of flight and bed placement to ensure a seamless patient transition,” Pattani said. “This drives operational efficiencies because there is less down time between helicopter flights, for example, which decreases delays in care, translating into lives saved and improvements in patient outcomes, especially among those with the highest acuity.”
Other clinical improvements directly tied to Mission Control are in the areas of pulmonary embolisms (usually related to blood clots), cardiogenic shock (heart failure), ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI — a heart attack with a completely blocked coronary artery), and secondary traumatic stress (STS), all of which are areas where AdventHealth has some of the highest quality outcomes in the state.
Evolving Into the Future
Mission Control is the problem solver in a complex equation of clinical care, but Pattani says it is capable of so much more.
“Our goal is to positively disrupt how we deliver health care, and we believe we’ve just scratched the surface of its potential,” he said.
As the command center expands, which is set to happen in 2023, it will remain nimble and grow to meet the needs of the hospital system and drive decision-making in new areas such as forecasting staffing needs.