New Patient Logistics Center improves patient care in Providence Oregon hospitals

Author: David Corman, M.D., medical director, Patient Logistics Center, Providence Oregon
Helene Anderson, regional director, throughput and capacity, Patient Logistics Center

The Patient Logistics Center serves as “mission control” to orchestrate and coordinate optimal patient care among all eight hospitals in Oregon. It functions as the hub for patient placement and patient flow, as well as for expediting access to other patient care services. Providence Oregon is developing the PLC model in partnership with Swedish Medical Services as a pilot that may be expanded to Providence’s seven-state health system. 

While the 4,500-square-foot, high-tech center is under construction, the PLC team and technology are in place, and the permanent space will be finalized in the next several months.

The goal of the PLC is to improve the experience for patients and providers through reduced delays in finding open beds, expedited patient care, easier patient transfers between units and facilities, and better coordination with ambulances and helicopter dispatch. For Providence employed and affiliated providers, this means better access to acute care beds and services for your patients.

How it works
The center uses state-of-the-art technology to guide decision-making, which makes care more efficient and improves Oregonians’ access to acute care services. When completed, the center will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by a team of nurses, bed placement coordinators, central transport (external) and other specialists.

Examples of what Providence's PLC will look like when completed

The PLC uses new technology from GE Healthcare with real-time data and predictive analytics to place patients in the best bed for their specific care needs. The combination of this new technology with centralized services in the PLC gives a new awareness of what is happening in each of our medical centers. Hospital priorities for the day and the specific needs of patients both can be taken into account to find the right bed as soon as possible. By improving the view of Providence Oregon’s entire system, we can function much more like one large medical system. This ensures we have room for every patient who looks to us for their care.

Artificial intelligence helps inform and guide decision-making in areas including ambulance and helicopter dispatch, patient transfers between units and facilities, and prioritization of placement and treatment.

The PLC centralizes bed control, the transfer center, remote visual monitoring (telesitting), and transportation services into a single entity to manage patient flow and resources for all Providence Oregon hospitals.

 “It has been so exciting to be a part of building the philosophy of the ‘1,000-bed hospital,’” says Beth Taylor, a nurse with Providence’s new PLC. “Being able to use each hospital to its fullest potential to meet the unique needs of our patients is so rewarding.”

Bed control coordinator Betsy Lang says, “Providence PLC is growing and changing to increase our ability to care for patients statewide by embracing new technologies and cooperative workflows.”

Why the PLC is transformative
Understanding patient flow requires looking at the whole system of care as an interconnected, interdependent system of care, not just individual hospitals or isolated units of patients. Improving patient flow has required completely redesigning previous work processes that contributed to the flow problems.

Developing and creating Providence’s new PLC has been a three-year process and has involved multiple Providence teams of experts in change management, nursing, medical and executive leadership, strategic operations and more. Team members examined current workflow problems with a critical eye and worked holistically as a broad-based team to create an entirely new approach. Providence Oregon’s senior leadership team championed and advocated for the PLC pilot with executive leaders of Providence’s seven-state health system.

The move to a Patient Logistics Center model aligns with Providence’s commitment to transform health care by using data to drive strategic change. It delivers on our promise to provide safe, compassionate, high-value health care to our patients and communities.

For more information (Providence internal access only)


About the Author

The inScope content team focuses on bringing you the latest in clinical news from our team of world-class medical providers and physician leaders.

More Content by Providence inScope Content Team
Previous Article
Colorectal cancer increases in younger populations, emphasizing importance of screenings
Colorectal cancer increases in younger populations, emphasizing importance of screenings

Newly published data show a significant increase in the incidence of colorectal cancer among younger popula...

Next Article
Confronting climate change to protect health
Confronting climate change to protect health

“Get out and exercise in the fresh air, drink plenty of (clean) water, and eat healthy, fresh foods.” This ...