Clinical transformation allows Hospital for Special Surgery to care for New York’s critically ill during the pandemic
If you need a hip or knee replacement, Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) is the place to go for expert, specialized care. HSS is a top-ranked hospital for orthopedics and rheumatology, but when New York City became the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, HSS pivoted to critical care.
HSS relies on Juniper solutions for its enterprise core, data center, and campus networks.
Telehealth visits in 2020
Increase in work from home in 2020
Expansion of core network to enable clinical transformation
A complete transformation from orthopedics to critical care
March 2020: New York City hospitals were overflowing with COVID-19 patients. Ventilators were in short supply. Ambulances lined the streets.
HSS made an unprecedented pivot during the crisis. The nation’s leading academic medical center specialized in musculoskeletal health transformed to care for the extremely ill.
“This is a ‘we’ story,” says Jamie Nelson, SVP and CIO at HSS. “What our teams did was a professional highlight.”
IT staff and HSS technology partners came to the hospital every day, donned in personal protective gear, to make rapid technology and network changes to support the new requirements of patient care.
Working together to achieve the extraordinary
HSS reconstructed its facility on Manhattan’s Upper East Side to care for the sickest patients. Operating rooms were converted into ICUs. A specialty foot and ankle ambulatory surgery unit became a triage center. Outpatient areas were consolidated to properly screen patients while maintaining social distancing.
Its Epic EHR software was reconfigured to support new telehealth workflows and other functionalities. New large-screen monitors helped clinicians track patient status. Livestream video capabilities scaled up to enable hospital leaders to communicate more effectively with staff and the broader community.
Hundreds of laptops and tablets were deployed to staff working at home so they could access the specialized tools to do their jobs. Digital check requests and paperless purchasing were implemented. Videoconferencing was key to the success of working from home and providing remote patient care.
A strong network provided the digital foundation to support the HSS clinical transformation.
“Our Juniper data network allowed us to ramp up and handle a higher volume of incoming traffic,” says Nelson. “We undertook a clinical transformation. We had to deal with an emergency, but we had a strong foundation to weather the storm.”
Heroes work here—and from home
Everyone at HSS pitched in.
“We had surgeons trundling behind anesthesiologists caring for COVID-19 ICU patients in whatever way they could,” Nelson says. “Our clinical team truly worked together.”
Protecting the health and safety of the hospital’s administrative staff was critical. In the past, 200 people might have worked from home on any given day. Now, 2000 staff across finance, marketing, IT, and even clinical care work remotely.
Telehealth visits soared from 1000 in 2019 to 100,000 in 2020. Telehealth allowed HSS to provide important follow-up care for orthopedic patients in their homes.
“Aftercare like physical therapy is almost as important as the surgery itself,” says Nelson. “Having a robust network that could deal with the video streaming that was necessary for telehealth was critically important.”
A strong technology foundation, enabling telehealth, patient telemetry, and hybrid work, continue to be a part of the new normal at HSS.
Published October 2021