LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — As COVID-19 brought more severe cases, hospitals struggled to keep up with the need, especially when it comes to transferring and accepting new patients.
Hospitals were using COVID Comm to transfer patients, but it's closed now thanks to a new system.
It's called Pulsara. It connects hospitals across the state showing when a patient needs transfer and which hospitals can take them.
"It's a virtual waiting room, essentially for patients requiring or requesting transfer throughout the state of Arkansas," said Dr. Rawle Seupaul, Chief Clinical Officer of UAMS.
Hospital staff can see the patients enter the portal in real-time, and send messages to start the process of transferring a patient.
"You can make the comment, 'We are full right now, but we'd be interested in taking this patient once we have capacity,' or you can say, 'Hey, we'd love to take this patient. We have room. Let's go ahead and make the connection,'" said Dr. Seupaul.
The system was made available by the state and Department of Health.
It's only been online for a couple of weeks in operation, replacing the former COVID Comm, a third-party dispatching service.
"You know, the former way of doing that was multiple calls in order to get a bed made available or to know where a patient might be able to land," said Cody Walker, Vice President of Operations at Baptist Health.
Hospitals are seeing the benefit of Pulsara and can see the benefit of using it when the pandemic is behind us.
"I think this transfer portal is going to be a really good tool for us moving forward in the future and I think it showed a great deal of foresight," said Dr. Gerry Jones, CHI St. Vincent Chief Medical Officer.
Hospitalizations are predicted to reach their peak a couple weeks after the peak in cases. The health department said we might have already reached the case peak, but it's something they are monitoring.