Technology provides unexpected benefit to surgery centers during Hurricane Harvey

Corpus Christi bore the brunt of hurricane Harvey’s fierce 130+ mile an hour winds.

Downed trees and power lines along with scattered debris were a common scene. Power outages affected the city for days. Next Harvey set its sights on Houston causing widespread flooding that washed out roads and made major interstates impassable. Then came Irma.

Unplanned closures of surgery centers aren’t limited to hurricanes. Snow storms, earth quakes, wild fires and widespread power outages can prove highly problematic for patients and staff alike across the country. Fortunately advances in technology are providing some unexpected benefits during these most difficult of times as discussed by Gavin Fabian, CEO of Casetabs.

One of the amazing things about (most) technology solutions is they can be leveraged for purposes outside of what they are initially intended. Consider, for example, surgery coordination systems. The intent of these systems is simple, to streamline case coordination and communication from the time it is determined a patient requires surgery all the way through post-op discharge. However, as several ASCs in Houston and Corpus Christi quickly discovered during Hurricane Harvey, this technology can also be used to retrieve patient demographic information when traditional methods fail.

Some software programs allow schedules and patient information to be accessed by logging into a computer, but this requires power and internet access. Faced with massive power outages and flooding which made it too dangerous to travel, centers using the Casetabs surgery coordination system were able to access patient demographic information through their mobile phones. Patients were then called and informed of their surgery cancellation. Mobile access to case information also ensured everyone involved in the case - including physician office staff, nurses, surgeons, anesthesiologists and vendor reps - remained current on any changes from the safety of their homes.

It is exciting to see how far healthcare technology has come. What unexpected benefits have you experienced with your technology?

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