Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC) serves a region of 30,000 people, providing access to health services through a network that includes a hospital and 50 clinics located in remote villages of southwest Alaska.
As part of Tribal Health Organizations, which carries requirements to qualify for government grants, YKHC faced challenges such as lack of timely communication across the Health System and difficulties collaborating with its numerous and disparately located network of remote clinics. By eliminating a large number of outdated pagers and implementing several of TigerConnect’s features, including role-based messaging, YKHC was able to streamline communication across the entire health system and improve access to health services for residents across southwest Alaska.
To illustrate YKHC’s phenomenal transformation, we wanted to take a look at the unique communication challenges from two specific caregivers within the organization. The community health aide that serves patients in the villages throughout southwest Alaska, and the chief of staff at the organization’s hospital in Bethel, Alaska. Each role faced unique challenges before the rollout of TigerConnect and benefited greatly after the solution implementation.
YKHC has a network of about 50 different clinics that provide basic care in the villages; overseeing these clinics are community health aides. While these community health aides are able to provide basic care in the villages, more complex procedures require a patient to go to Bethel or even Anchorage. To cut down on costly transports and improve patient outcomes, it’s important for the community health aides in the village to communicate effectively with hospital staff and specialists in Bethel.
Before TigerConnect, community health aides would call an operator, the operator would look at an excel spreadsheet to find out who was on call, they would call the provider and try to get them on the phone, or leave a voicemail with the phone number of the community health aid in the village to call back. This process often involved the community health aide sitting on hold while the patient was waiting, or the call would simply get lost in voicemail oblivion.
Critical information, such as the appropriate medications, or if a patient needed to be transferred, was being delayed or completely lost. Implementing TigerConnect helped YKHC achieve a seamless, real-time, successful communication between community health aides and hospital staff and specialists in Bethel. Easier access to healthcare professionals saved valuable time and money, improving patient outcomes, enabling YKHC staff to:
Dr. Ellen Hodges, MD, Chief of Staff, wears a lot of hats at YKHC, but can often be found in the emergency department, helping wherever she is needed. She is the clinical on-call director, high-risk obstetrics on-call, she also covers for the hospital administrator on-call, and occasionally she is the health aide provider on-call for the in-patient unit. Prior to using TigerConnect, Dr. Hodges recalls the alphanumeric black plastic box pages.
“I would carry up to five pagers depending on how many roles I was assuming at the hospital at the same time,” Dr. Hodges recalls. She even remembers a time when she ran over a pager with her car. “It didn’t work and nobody could get a hold of me until I drove to the hospital to get IT to reprogram a new one.”
Today, Dr. Hodges is pager-free and enjoys several benefits from TigerConnect, including:
Big Easy Win: Optimize Patient Outcomes & Profitability