In many respects, the global spread of COVID-19 has effectively hit the pause button on the world as we know it. In an article published on The Ringer, Michael Baumann writes that the “sports world’s sudden pause is trivial in the grand scheme, but it’s forcing us to reckon with society’s newfound fragility.” Beyond the triviality of the sports world, the novel coronavirus is exposing our newfound fragility by wreaking havoc on our global healthcare systems, the international financial markets, and how we are accustomed to connecting with one another.
At Roundtrip, we are a company of people who believe in the power of technology to get people the care they need. We are always striving to improve health outcomes by eliminating transportation barriers for patients and identifying vulnerabilities in our healthcare system. At this unique and unprecedented time, we are supporting our clients as they develop and execute operational plans to flatten the curve and create capacity within their facilities.
Transfers and Discharges
COVID-19 is already exacerbating a patient flow problem that will need more considerable attention as the disease spreads. This means that coordinating patient transfers and discharges will be paramount to opening beds for potential and confirmed coronavirus cases. For patients who no longer need to occupy an inpatient bed, hospitals will need to be on their A-game when it comes to efficiently moving patients ready for discharge to a post-acute care facility. This will also require re-direction of patients with ongoing care needs, such as hemodialysis and chemotherapy patients, to newly established alternative care sites. This will be critical to relieving congestion on the main medical center campus or wherever the primary treatment locations are for COVID-19. Roundtrip’s ride-booking platform can be used to book scheduled and on-demand transfers and discharges as health systems look for any means to create capacity.
Getting clinicians to and from the hospital or care site is going to be a challenge when public transit is inconsistent, closed, or risky. At Roundtrip we’re accustomed to transporting patients to care, but when we were approached by Tufts Medical Center to transport their clinicians to the hospital we’ve started transporting them too. For health systems that are already using our platform, it makes perfect sense to coordinate rides for clinicians to ensure you have enough staff ready and available for what’s ahead. This approach also makes sense given that many health systems are setting up more remote testing facilities, many of which may or may not be located near public transportation. The reality is that clinical staff are at a greater risk for catching the coronavirus anyways, so providing transportation for them will help ensure they aren’t any more exposed than medically necessary.
Transportation to Alternate Care Sites
Telehealth is a potentially a good option for triaging other types of patients and should be utilized where possible, and there are a number of socially-distant ways that we can address this crisis as well. However, disaster response will always require an in-person aspect, and COVID-19 testing can’t be virtual. As drive-thru testing centers are mobilizing in vacant parking lots, health systems will need to have logistics in place for getting patients to these kinds of off-site testing locations and on to the appropriate care settings as well. Health systems may believe that their patients won’t really need a ride, or their existing processes will work well enough, but if we’re going to flatten the curve it won’t hurt to have a plan B or C in place to get patients to the appropriate care settings, and Roundtrip could serve as the right solution if and when the others fall through.
If you would like to follow how Roundtrip is responding to COVID-19, please follow our updates here.