Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sutter Health’s network of 22 hospitals have helped COVID-19 positive patients get better faster, reducing the length of hospitalization from an average of 20 days initially to just eight days today.
It is one of the ways to show the power of an integrated network in responding to this health emergency. Care teams across the Sutter Health network give patients high-quality care whether at a medical center in San Francisco or Sacramento or a rural hospital in Amador County or Lake County.
In fact, Sutter’s integrated healthcare system, which includes Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital, was able to coordinate across the 22 counties where it operates to:
• Increase care capacity by 200-300% in the midst of the pandemic
• Expand telehealth services to shift from 20 virtual visits per day to 7,000
• Double the capacity of remote electronic intensive care units so patients could access critical care specialists 24/7
• Reallocate crucial resources to get personal protective equipment and ventilators where they were needed most
“We made investments very early on in the beginnings of our network so that we could best support the hospitals, care centers and other health services in our communities,” said William Isenberg, M.D., chief quality and safety officer for Sutter Health. “That planning has helped us in ways we could never have imagined during the pandemic, as well as during some of the wildfires that have touched parts of our Northern California service area.”
Sutter Health serves demographically and geographically diverse regions in Northern California, so the integrated network is also adept at getting the right resources to the right location, quickly.
“2020 has been a challenging year, but we have phrase we use at the hospital to cheer ourselves on, we say we’re Sutter Strong,” remarked Dan Peterson, CEO of Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital. “Whether its wildfires or a pandemic or power outages, we are not alone and that means the residents who rely on us aren’t alone either.”
An integrated network also supports an easier sharing of best practices, which can help improve clinical outcomes. For instance, care teams across Sutter were able to minimize the need for ventilators in COVID-19-positive patients by using other appropriate therapies. Consistent meetings and briefings between hospital clinical leaders and those within Sutter Health’s Emergency Management System helped provide the timeliest information and developments. Hospital clinical leaders then could quickly turn around and share these findings and approaches with their own hospital incident command centers and teams on the ground.
Sutter Health is proud to have helped slow the outbreak’s spread and minimized COVID-positive patients’ need for ventilators by using other appropriate therapies, all while advancing priority issues including health equity, research and testing.