Without realizing it, an investment that CHI Franciscan CEO Ketul J. Patel made last year delivered huge dividends almost immediately. Washington state, where the system is located, is among the states hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. But because of Patel’s decisive action, it was also well-prepared for a surge.
What was your riskiest decision? Last year, CHI Franciscan was the fifth globally and the first health system in Washington state to launch an artificial intelligence-powered “mission control center.”
Why was it risky? At a time when we were facing capital constraints and occupancy at record levels, we looked at our resources and determined that building additional brick-and-mortar locations wasn’t the smartest solution given time-to-market and capital capacity consumption. We needed to be both bold and innovative in our approach to expand capacity, which meant taking a risk on a relatively new technology. Our chief operating officer, Ian Worden, led efforts to adopt the AI platform. It was a future-focused solution that will benefit our health system by enhancing operations and creating efficiencies, in turn increasing our capacity and improving the experience of our patients.
was the outcome? When we launched Mission Control last August, we never imagined it would become the vital center of our response to the coronavirus. We can receive real-time, objective and scientific data on key aspects of patient care such as expediting suspected COVID-19 cases to negative airflow rooms, tracking the number of intensive-care beds available, monitoring care progression, and immediately alerting staff regarding a patient’s status. The system is also tracking World Health Organization infection growth rates, the percentage of patients requiring ventilation, and COVID-19 mortality rates to predict future demands of care.