New Queen's command center is unveiled

Jan. 26—Related Photo Gallery: Queen's launches command center to better manage patients, care

The Queen's Health System on Thursday held a blessing for its new command center to help it manage patient care across its facilities more efficiently.

The Aukahi Command Center is a centralized hub offering real-time data on the location and number of admitted patients, beds occupied per unit and estimated time of discharges and transfers at Queen's facilities.

Hospital executives

expect it to improve patient care and flow, and

to help staff direct resources more effectively as demands increase

statewide.

"We believe that by bringing everyone together, allowing them to hear what's going on in the emergency departments, with admissions, transfers, we can better coordinate the right care at the right place at the right time," said Jason Chang, Queen's executive vice president of innovation and strategy.

Queen's invested

$4.5 million into the center on South King Street

with support from

GE HealthCare's Command Center software

program.

The new command center, said Chang, will "bolster our efforts to increase access to high-quality care by improving continuity and collaboration among the various teams and departments that provide care during a patient's hospital stay."

Gov. Josh Green lauded Queen's for taking initiative on investing in the new technology, calling

it a "game-changer" for

patients.

A doctor with a patient in cardiac arrest on Hawaii island, for instance, could call Queen's to work out whether a transfer is possible much more efficiently with the new system.

Whereas a response might have previously taken hours over the phone, a glance at information at the command center can determine whether a transfer can be made

immediately.

This is valuable for doctors and nurses far from Honolulu, in particular, he said, who need to know quickly whether intensive care beds or trauma teams are available for their patients in need.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, when hospitals were at overcapacity, data from the command center could have helped determine the number of traveling health care workers to bring in much more quickly.

Alexandra Wroe, vice president of patient care at Queen's, said the command center allows care teams to be more proactive in day-to-day operations.

The dashboard shows how full the cardiac ICU is, for instance, the number of discharges expected and whether beds will be available the next day.

When fielding multiple requests for expedited testing, the team can now determine which ones to prioritize.

The team will be able to see that a patient in one unit is ready to be discharged, for instance, but has been waiting hours for an echocardiogram and expedite it.

"Now we can make

data-driven decisions," she said.

Queen's also has access to a real-time dashboard launched by the Healthcare Association of Hawaii

that shows the capacity level for hospitals

statewide.

At around noon Thursday the dashboard showed both of the Queen's facilities on Oahu to be pretty full.

The Queen's Medical Center­-West Oahu was at 93% capacity while The Queen's Medical Center at Punchbowl was at 95%. Pali Momi Medical Center in Pearl City was at overcapacity, at 101%.

These days, Queen's West often can be busier than the Punchbowl campus due to a growing population on Oahu's West side.

"Queen's is already making an investment to expand the hospitals' emergency room and additional in-­patient beds," said Chang, "but it can't come fast enough, and so managing the flow of patients and having real-time information, that's our bridge to also contribute to improving access to everybody on the West side."

The new command center is part of Queen's Innovation Institute, launched in March with the goal of using technology to improve access to all levels of care.

Queen's also operates Molokai General Hospital and North Hawaii Community Hospital in Waimea, along with Queen's Island Urgent Care.

Queen's is also exploring a formal affiliation with Wahiawa General Hospital. The two parties in November entered an asset purchase agreement that is to be formalized in April.

Queen's has named the new command center Aukahi, which means united and flowing together.