Aster RV Hospital, Bangalore bags the Covid Management Initiative of the Year in Healthcare Asia Awards 2021
Aster DM Healthcare, traversed the journey through the COVID era, valiantly.
ASTER RV Bangalore, the youngest member of the Global conglomerate Healthcare Chain, Aster DM Healthcare, traversed the journey through the COVID era, valiantly. This journey started on 12th March 2020, when city of Bangalore was just waking up to the onslaught of the COVID Pandemic, with the first Town hall on COVID Preparedness for Medical Consultants and staff, addressed by Aster RV Hospital COO- Dr Prashanth N., Chief of Medical Services- Dr Shugota and Lead Consultant, Critical care- Dr Chinnadurai R.
The WHO protocols were implemented with rigour and passion, as a collaborative effort of both clinical and non-clinical teams. It started with daily morning reviews, conducting mock drills, taking measures to ensure efficiency and leverage creativity, to training, upskilling and upscaling Doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers, adapting and implementing new policies. All possible measures were taken to ensure continuity of services to cohort suspect COVID, confirmed COVID and non-COVID cases in a safe and effective manner.
Aster RV Hospital was thus successful in ensuring almost no disruption in routine and quaternary care services. With updated scientific information and adoption of advanced and innovative technology a new “normal” was created in the COVID era.
KEY STRATEGIES IMPLEMENTED TO COMBAT THIS MASSIVE WAVE WERE-
A] Formation of a Clinical COVID TASK FORCE
B] Facility Risk assessment- Critical Departments were evaluated for COVID vulnerability risk score. immediate risk mitigation measures were undertaken to ensure the pre-identified high-risk areas and concerns were addressed
C] The war was waged by strengthening the two pillars which form the foundation of healthcare delivery-
1. CLINICAL EXCELLENCE: Measures taken were-
- Structural aspects of remodelling the clinical areas to undertake therapy of non COVID, COVID suspect and full blown COVID cases while ensuring no process-flow crossover
- Clear clinical guidelines on precise COVID response clinical multidisciplinary pathways
- Incorporation of new on-ground learnings along with compliance to new clinical guidelines
- Standard clinical therapy regimens
- Guidelines on Infection Control (IC) by unit IC Officer and Group IC advisor, was strictly complied with and audited for effectiveness
- Specific guidelines for allocation of General OT’s as COVID OTs, with negative pressure, to operate emergency suspect COVID and positive cases
- Expansion of Lab capacity with NABL accreditation to ensure fast tracking of COVID diagnostic tests, which enabled the doctors to triage admissions
- Use of dedicated Portable Radiology equipment along with timed procedures under strict cleaning and decontamination protocols
- Handling of COVID Positive Obstetric mothers in the COVID ward post- delivery
2. OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE: Measures taken were:
- COVID screening tools on Aster websites with automated communications
- Entry, exit were restricted with appropriate screening measures
- Virtual training, up-skilling, and cross-functional training of nurses and paramedical staff
- Rotational shift system-alternative staffing plans to ensure the availability of workforce and mitigate risk of infection among HCW
- Rational use & reuse of personal protective equipment
- Strengthening the supply chain and effective resource management
- Segregation of cases
- Staff Safety measures
- Digital initiatives
- Workforce adequacy
- Caring, Listening, empathy - our priority
- Bed management / Transfers
- Real-time data and management information system
Business continuity planning done by leadership – with distributed yet coordinated authority since planning under the circumstances was vital.
As an outcome measure, we can state that Aster RV has so far treated around 1300 COVID-Positive patients, with a very low mortality rate. 30% of these patients were high risk and needed to be treated in critical care.
The hospital preparedness at Aster RV for the COVID-19 pandemic, in terms of infrastructure and processes, was assessed and validated independently by senior Govt functionaries like Dr.Nanda, Deputy Director, Medical Services, Govt. of Karnataka in Mar’20 before the first case was reported in the city.
(Pic was taken before 1st case of COVID in Bangalore city and perhaps, is the last Group photo in memory of the PRE- COVID Era!)