Hospitals are facing challenges in taking care of patients suffering from COVID-19. Among various difficulties faced by healthcare providers, medical transportation is having an impact on hospital revenue, patient care and experience, and risk of readmission. However, Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) can be used by healthcare providers to help COVID-19 patients. With nemt dispatch software solution, hospitals can save the lives of patients, reserve emergency resources for the patients who are critical. By contracting nemt service providers or software developers hospitals can serve patients in a better way and reduce the possibility of patients coming back to the hospital after discharge.
Transporting Patients To and From Hospitals
The biggest benefit of NEMT service or software is the ability of healthcare providers to transport patients easily to and from the hospital. The majority of COVID-19 patients need transportation to the hospital due to deteriorating conditions and the absence of personal transportation. Moreover, these patients cannot take public transport due to the risk of transmission of the virus, and maximum number of the patients coming to the hospital arrive using an ambulance.
The nemt dispatch software solution can be used as soon as the patient is stabilized and needs to be discharged from the hospital. However, there is a lack of vehicles with personal protective gear and equipment, experts and procedures to control infection to ensure the safety of COVID-19 patients as they are stabilized.
Before the pandemic healthcare organizations used to partner with ride-sharing companies such as Lyft and Uber to provide transportation service for patients. However, with the rise of the pandemic various rideshare services have shut down. Moreover, these vehicles lack the type of protection or care system for COVID-19 patients and to protect drivers. Many nemt services vehicles still lack the type of systems or protection needed to transport COVID-19 patients.
NEMT can help patients who are recovered and do not need to stay in an acute care setting, however, due to lack of transportation, they get stuck in the hospital for a longer time and with the risk of contracting infection again. This can also lead to issues of capacity in hospitals especially in areas with rising numbers of patients.
Achieving the Success of Infection Control
There are many areas with NEMT service providers, however, they are still not part of the solution. With regulatory approval, some hospitals have achieved success by entering into a partnership with NEMT service providers or adopting nemt dispatch software solution.
Moreover, acute care providers are also guiding NEMT providers to take some important steps to protect patients and drivers while transporting patients to the hospital. The most essential step is to remain up-to-date on the guideline from healthcare organizations, disinfecting NEMT vehicles after every use. Many healthcare providers also provide safety equipment for drivers and patients traveling using nemt vehicles.
However, the most important is one’s own experience and following infection control procedures that can be used at hospitals as well as in vehicles. Contacting nemt service providers and ensuring the use of infection control procedures is one of the important steps before booking the service. One should also ensure that NEMT service providers are following safety guidelines and are on the list of providers preferred by both patients and hospitals.
Offering nemt dispatch software solution to transport patients who are stable can be beneficial for hospitals as it frees up space in hospitals for other patients and hospitals can offer emergency resources to patients with critical conditions. This can lead to the better patient experience and also help hospitals in treating emergency patients.
Targeting Social Determinants
Hospitals need to ensure safe transport of patients from the hospital so that there is no need to readmit patients in the future. With nemt dispatch software solution, hospitals can ensure safe transportation for both patients and drivers and by following various safety guidelines. NEMT can also be used to deliver things like medicines, medical supplies, and items that can help patients recover faster. Moreover, some states are not allowing patients to be discharged who do not have groceries at home, thus, NEMT service can remove this barrier and also deliver groceries with other essential supplies.
Even if the nemt service providers do not have protocols in place to transport patients, it can help in solving disparities in social determinants. It has also been observed that many people are getting access to resources and they are taking these resources for granted, while people who need it don’t even have access. This problem of lack of resources for the vulnerable can be solved using nemt services and reaching a large number of people. This can also control virus transmission and help in increasing the recovery rate.
The healthcare providers and organizations can also use nemt dispatch software solution and enter into a partnership with nemt service providers to schedule deliveries that can help patients to recover and reduce the chances of readmission.
Regular communication with acute care providers to see their capacity and ability to admit COVID-19 patients is important. Effective communication is a must for nemt service providers to transport patients at the hospital with the space to admit new patients. Healthcare organizations should communicate regularly with the transport service providers, it should also have a system that can help in scheduling pick-up and drop-off of patients and also transport essential supplies to speed-up patient recovery.
With the nemt dispatch software solution and real-time tracker, it becomes easy to track the location of the vehicle carrying patients and helps healthcare providers to make decisions on using nemt services.
Although transportation is one of the biggest challenges in this COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals, and healthcare organizations are focusing on the safe discharge of patients to avoid any readmission. Many healthcare service providers have started using nemt services to transport patients easily and safely to and from hospitals. The nemt dispatch software solution is also gaining traction as it can help in booking the vehicle with just a few clicks and eliminating the need to make a call to book the ride.
Nitin Lahoti is the domain expert of the healthcare transportation industry. He has 12+ years of experience in Design, Business Development and Startups. His expertise is in Product Ideation, UX/UI design, Startup consulting and mentoring. He prefers business readings and loves travelling.