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Inside 'Command Central' for coronavirus response at Methodist Healthcare

Medical workers screen patients, and then look at all Methodist facilities to determine capacity and capability. Then, they find a match and place the patient.

SAN ANTONIO — Methodist Healthcare has a Patient Placement Center. This allows staff to see the status of every hospital bed in all of its facilities.

Medical Director Dr. Travis Holloway oversees the center. It is a network of administrators, nurses, and physicians of Methodist Healthcare.

"Their whole goal is to get patients moved quickly, efficiently, and safely," he said. "The registered nurse who takes the phone call can screen the patient for what their needs are."

These medical workers screen patients, and then look at all Methodist facilities to determine capacity and capability. Then they will find a match on where to place the patient.

"The technology used to do that is really the backbone of it." Holloway said.  We are able to place a diagnosis on a patient in real time and watch that patient as they move through the hospital."

This work is even more crucial and beneficial during the coronavirus pandemic.

"We can also alert those providers of where they need to place that patient in real time," he said. "In doing so, it alleviates some of the need of PPE, personal protective equipment. If we can do that safely, efficiently, and quickly we don't have to have those patients under investigators for longer than we need."

Dr. Holloway talked about the importance of the placement of patients under investigation of coronavirus.

"If patients are under investigation and maybe positive for COVID-19, he said. "It is the placement patient center that makes sure those patients are cohorted, meaning they are placed in an area together, and not placed in a place that is housing non-COVID patients."

There is a fear in going to the hospital right now and rightfully so. However, the staff at the facility want to make it clear don't wait too long to come in.

"Urgent medical problems, urgent surgical issues, heart attacks, strokes those will continue to happen in the community," he said. "We need to let people know that they can safely and efficiently be taken care of."

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