AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - As emergency facilities quickly become overwhelmed and overcrowded, the speed of patient transfer has become more important than ever to address the surge of COVID-19 patients.
Since 2018, the Texas Panhandle has been using XFERRAL (pronounced trasnferral), an app that finds where a patient can get treated immediately, without the need of phone calls, fax or any other manual labor.
This year with the pandemic, hospitals are having two major struggles, medical patients and patients with a psychiatric crisis.
“We were already in a behavioral health crisis prior to the pandemic and now it’s getting worse," said Shara Palmieri, COO & co-founder of XFERRAL. “We see more and more patients going to the emergency department for behavioral health treatment.”
Because of this health centers are reaching capacity faster and hospitals are having to transfer outside their region.
“We had to send a patient to San Antonio just in the last couple of weeks, is how far we had to go and recently Denver,” said Janae Wright, chief nursing officer at Dallam Hartley Counties Hospital District. “There’s been nowhere close, where we can just send patients easily.”
To help with requests outside the region, XFERRAL is expanding its network and looking to add hospitals in Oklahoma, Denver and New Mexico, but that’s not the only way, they’re looking to partner with Texas Panhandle Centers to respond to the behavioral health crisis.
“What this technology does is that it allows Texas Panhandle centers to start a case within the technology,” said Palmieri. "And then it links up everyone who is part of that patient’s care so, the sending hospital, the receiving hospitals, the crisis team and now they can all communicate and get alerts back and forth on this one platform on the status of that patient’s transfer so that we can release those clinical care providers back to patient care, and automate that process of getting that patient transferred. "
According to studies done by XFERRAL, improving emergency room capacity helps the entire region provide better care to all patients.