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Hartford HealthCare: Helping Another Hospital – and its Patients – When Disaster Strikes

February 26, 2018

Minutes after a deranged young man allegedly crashed his vehicle into the Middlesex Hospital Emergency Department, called out to President Trump and proceeded to light himself on fire for all to see on Facebook Live, Hartford HealthCare (HHC) sprang into action. The Middlesex ED was decimated, and there was no doubt that HHC would need to play a major role in helping the nearby hospital and its patients.

A key component would be the system’s Care Logistics Center, an innovative tool that has transformed HHC’s ability to handle disasters of any kind.

Over the next 24 hours, the center would prove essential in HHC’s efforts to take on the care of 24 patients from Middlesex Hospital within its own six hospitals.

The Care Logistics Center is a state-of-the-art, centralized, NASA-like mission control for all of Hartford HealthCare. Located in Newington, it handles questions about bed availability and tracks patients’ movements across HHC facilities. The goal is to get every patient to the right place for the right care at the right time.

During this particular incident, having a centralized logistics center allowed HHC to make strategic decisions on which of its facilities would take which patients. Making use of large digital dashboards, data is complied at the front of the room for everyone to see and analyze, whether it is a routine day, or a day when Connecticut’s healthcare delivery system was being tested as it was on Thursday, Feb. 22 and Friday, Feb. 23.

Using this centralized data, clinicians – including doctors and nurses located within the Care Logistics Center – matched capacity, capabilities, timing and other factors to the needs of incoming patients. They did this under the added pressure and stress of a local disaster that had drawn the attention of the FBI as well as national, state and local media to Connecticut just days after the Parkland, Florida high school massacre that killed 14 students and three teachers.

This was the first opportunity to test the center’s capacity for disaster support and relief – and the team passed with flying colors.

“This (center) allows us to see everyone from one location and use all of our resources to the best of our ability,” said Beth Ciotti, a vice president for Hartford HealthCare who oversees the operation of the center. “It allows us to be very agile.”

Patrick Turek, director of emergency management for Hartford HealthCare, said the center allows HHC to coordinate care, and in a matter of moments figure out where patients needs to be and how to get them there as quick as possible.

He added that the center regularly conducts drills for larger events and was prepared in November to offer aid to Backus Hospital when it experienced electrical problems, and also to Windham Hospital when a nearby recycling plant caught fire in January and smoke conditions caused officials to consider evacuating the hospital. Luckily the center’s services were not needed either time.

But they were needed this time, and being able to help a nearby hospital in a time of need was a big win, Turek said.

Learn more about the Hartford HealthCare Care Logistics Center here