InSytu pivots for the pandemic through a partnership with Community Technologies
Partners prepare for COVID-19 through a new hospital simulation pilot program, now offered as an InSytu service
Three weeks prior to receiving, identifying, and treating the first known COVID-19 patient in the country to recovery early this year, Providence Regional Medical Center caregivers in Everett had undergone extensive pandemic training simulations even before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posted its own pandemic preparation checklist for hospitals.
It’s no surprise, then, that we at Community Technologies, wanted to share any opportunities for learnings with our Epic Connect partners to help them also better prepare for the global threat against what was then a novel virus in the U.S.
Aligned with our mission for meaningful improvement in quality and cost of patient care, we could not turn down a generous offer to participate in a “TeleSim” pilot program from one of our business partners, InSytu, a provider of healthcare simulation programs to improve care delivery.
Formerly known as Gossman Simulation, InSytu has a long history of working with us for OB-related simulations. Their facilitators performed multiple, onsite COVID-19 simulations across our Providence St. Joseph Hospital – Oregon region prior to the “stay-at-home” order placed in March.
“One of InSytu’s keys to success is that we simulate onsite, with bedside caregivers in their patient care areas. As the COVID-19 pandemic became a reality in the U.S., two things became clear,” said Theresa Demeter, executive director of InSytu. “The first, that hospitals needed help to prepare to keep caregivers safe and safely care for patients, and the second, that we were not going to be able to travel to the facility,” she added.
Pandemic Requires a Pivot
While new shelter-in-place mandates came into order throughout the country, InSytu pivoted to the “new normal” of physical distance requirements through a new pilot program to provide its simulations virtually, and worked with our Community Technologies partners to test it. At no cost to our partners from April through May, Epic Connect partners who chose to participate were able to test and refine new COVID-19 specific policies with vital opportunities to practice care in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including high-risk procedures, such as intubation and cardiac arrest response, and safe transport of patients in their own patient care areas.
“Very quickly we transformed our onsite macro-simulation into TeleSim, a remotely facilitated simulation using existing conferencing technology,” said Demeter.
Through TeleSim, InSytu physician and nurse facilitators engaged clinical teams at each healthcare partner site to examine their processes to reduce latent safety risks and improve communication, high-reliability, and patient care.
As hospitals and clinics around the world increasingly acknowledged the coronavirus outbreak, our newest Community Technologies partner, Nor-Lea Hospital District in Lovington, New Mexico, embraced the chance to participate in the TeleSim pilot program last spring.
“Since we did the simulation, our team feels more conﬁdent about how to safely care for COVID-19 patients,” said Dr. Chad Carver of Nor-Lea Hospital District after they performed a remotely facilitated simulation with the InSytu team. “This experience made us study, think about how we were actually doing things-right and wrong,” he added. “That was good for us and helped us improve our process.”
The Next New Normal
This process is what our business partners like InStyu share in common with us at Community Technologies and what we strive for among our healthcare partners we serve through our shared technologies for their quality of care of their patients and communities.
“We were very fortunate to partner with Community Technologies to help us connect with hospitals such as Nor-Lea to pilot TeleSim,” said Demeter. “The pilot was such a success and the simulations so effective that the COVID-19 simulations and the TeleSim format have been added to InSytu’s services.” She continued, “Helping Nor-Lea test and refine their processes to safely care for COVID-19 patients while keeping their own team safe was incredibly rewarding for our team. With Nor-Lea’s feedback, we added several improvements to our TeleSim program, including providing an enhanced AV kit and identifying an onsite coordinator to manage the participants and flow of the sim.”
Another Community Technologies partner, Grande Ronde Hospital in LaGrande, Oregon, also participated in the pilot program to help better prepare for the birth of their smallest patients during the global fight against the coronavirus. To better handle emergencies among pregnant moms and their soon-to-be newborn infants, its obstetric and surgical teams welcomed the opportunity to prepare high-level respiratory containment through an InSytu simulation.
The highly contagious nature of COVID-19 adds complexity to cesarean-section deliveries and requires screening, identiﬁcation, isolation, and infection prevention at every step of the way. Obstetrics and Surgical Nurse Managers Jenny Gonzalez and Michelle Sandoval engaged caregivers across disciplines to explore their care processes and improve safety for caregivers and patients, big and small, across their community.
“We realized some of the things we planned earlier weren’t going to work,” said Obstetrics and Surgical Nurse Manager Jenny Gonzalez. “Participating in sim forced us to pause, look at this thing in detail and decide what we were going to do. It has decreased anxiety for so many who just weren’t sure.” Gonzalez continued, “Now that we’ve fine tuned our response to COVID-19 for obstetric emergencies, we can continue to care for moms and babies with conﬁdence.”
Additional Community Technologies participants who participated in the pilot program included Wallowa Memorial Hospital in Enterprise, Oregon; Jefferson Healthcare, Port Townsend, Washington; and Samaritan Healthcare, Moses Lake, Washington.
“The COVID-19 preparedness simulations demonstrate the opportunities to bring best practices and the highest quality of care to our patients, caregivers and communities,” said Steve Girolami, M.D., Executive Director of Medical Informaticists for Community Technologies. “Offering remotely facilitated simulations during this pandemic and deploying so rapidly demonstrates the power of creativity we all can harness during a crisis.”
While the free pilot program ended last May, you may still request InSytu’s clinical tele-simulations for your hospital or clinic. Contact Community Technologies and we will connect you with InSytu.View all News