Health information saves lives in the medical field because it can predict a particular trend. Doctors, nurses, and healthcare administrators can deduce crucial decisions after accessing people’s health data (Delnord et al., 2020). Rush University Medical Center is located in Chicago metropolitan area, and it serves the West Side communities. It is a non-profit organization that was established in 1994. Its objectives include offering cost-effective healthcare products and services that meet the requirements of the community, patient, and employer. It is the third-largest inpatient hospital in the Chicago Metropolitan area. The service locations of Rush Medical Center include McHenry, Will, Lake, Kankakee, Kane, Kendall, DuPage, and Cook counties (University System for Health, 2020). The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the growth of Rush University Medical Center, which led to changes in how people in the community accessed health care and the quality of healthcare. In addition, the hospital used emerging technologies in healthcare which could have resulted in a positive impact on healthcare delivery.
Impact of COVID-19 on the Growth of the Hospital
The COVID-19 disease is a contagious respiratory disease caused by a coronavirus. When the global outbreak of the disease emerged in Chicago, the hospital initiated a community testing team to respond to it immediately in homeless shelters. It hit some Chicago neighborhoods hard, and many people were infected with the virus. Among the hospitalized patients, thirty-one percent had COVID-19. The hospital opted to care for the most vulnerable patients and suspend other health-related conditions (Hernandez, 2022). It changed its strategies to delay particular procedures such as elective surgeries and have consistency in accommodating. When the pandemic surged, the hospital noted that its greatest crisis was staffing. Rush Medical Center opted to recruit more employees to facilitate the creation of more staff beds for COVID-19 cases.
Impact of Hospital Services on Healthcare and Quality of Health
The healthcare service provider partnered with some organizations to achieve its objective of cubbing the prevalence of COVID-19. The hospital team collaborated with the University of Illinois Health and the Chicago Department of Public Health to provide testing services to congregations such as long-term care facilities and homeless shelters. The team went a step further in inoculating homebound older adults and other high-risk settings, for instance, buildings for older adults, in February 2021 (Hernandez, 2022). During the summer of 2021, Rush developed the Connect Chicago initiative to expand community-based COVID-19 testing.
The hospital involved Esperanza Health Centers and the Chicago departments of Public Health to facilitate testing attempts in vulnerable communities when the infection cases began to rise steadily. Rush intended to get an insight into the resources available locally and in their hospital; therefore, they connected residents to the health care system (Hernandez, 2022). The testing process was done via at-home testing kits and two physical sites, which were Esperanza Health Centers Brighton Park and Pulaski Road, a place for community residents (Rush University Medical Center, n.d.). The large cross-departmental COVID-19 task force of Rush mitigated the outbreaks in congregate settings and vulnerable areas such as homeless shelters, jails, and living facilities for the elderly.
Emerging Technology to Support Its Initiatives
Health data includes structured, unstructured, and semi-structured information that a healthcare organization can analyze and use for predictive modeling. Rush University Medical Center used community-driven data to draw inferences about the COVID-19 pandemic. Obtaining data on the way people perceive the medical system was critical since the rate of immunization can be affected by perspectives of the COVID-19 vaccine, among other variables. Therefore, retrieving this information was vital to provide direction on the vaccination strategies. Some people in Chicago chose to stay away from places with many cases of infection. Others were forced to stay there due to their family, work, and life. A questionnaire comprising of seventeen questions was used to survey 103 residents in the hot spot areas to determine their opinion and perception of the vaccine (American Hospital Association, n.d.). The data analysis showed that people had suspicions about the government’s objective to protect them and their community. For this reason, the information about the vaccine was insufficient to persuade them to take the jab.
Continued focus on testing after the COVID-19 vaccination rollout was essential in determining the current state of the prevalence of the pandemic. The three pillars of access were used by Connect Chicago to expand Community-based COVID-19 testing. There were two community locations for vaccination, whereas at-home testing kits were dropped off at any Fed location or sent through the mail. Besides, the strategy focused on putting people at the front and center while mass vaccination was ongoing. A certified nurse in Connect Chicago would ask clients on arrival whether they want to be connected to other healthcare services or have a care provider. If they were in need, they could be connected to care at Rush University Medical Center. The facility primarily helped their patients all around by, for instance, getting actionable information for those with food insecurity or rent issues. The assistance was facilitated through the program associated with Connect Chicago (American Hospital Association, n.d.). Additionally, continued testing is essential in discovering new infections and developing vaccines against them.
Impact of Health Information on Care Delivery
The Rush health information technology has had a substantial impact on the delivery of healthcare to patients. There were over one thousand seven hundred vaccinations in the community due to the team, and more than one hundred and forty-five thousand people had gotten the jab through the medical center (American Hospital Association, n.d.). In addition, they completed over eighteen thousand COVID-19 tests within the community by conducting continuous tests (American Hospital Association, n.d.). Involving other organizations has strengthened the relationships between residents in the marginalized neighborhoods, community-based organizations, and the hospital. Ultimately, it focused on giving an insight into Rush’s ways of operating COVID-19 vaccines in community health centers, schools, and complete services clinics. As a result, the relationship of Rush Medical Center with local leaders, business owners, and residents became strong within the community.
To conclude, how people in the community accessed healthcare and healthcare quality were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Emerging technologies were deployed to mitigate the epidemic, resulting in a positive impact on healthcare delivery. For example, the prevalence of the virus in Chicago made Rush Medical Center shift its attention from patients with other health-related conditions to those with the sickness. Since their services focused more on minimizing cases related to the disease, they partnered with corporations such as the University of Illinois Health, Chicago Department of Public Health, and Esperanza Health Centers to reach the marginalized groups. Fortunately, there was a substantial impact on the number of people vaccinated and the relationship between Rush University Medical Center with other organizations.
American Hospital Association. (n.d.). Rush University Medical Center Vaccinates Community Hot Spots Against COVID-19. Advancing Health in America.
Delnord, M., Tille, F., Abboud, L. A., Ivankovic, D., & Van Oyen, H. (2020). How can we monitor the impact of national health information systems? Results from a scoping review. European journal of public health, 30(4), 648-659.
Hernandez, A., (2022). Rush hospital CEO on criteria for delaying surgeries amid bed shortage.
Rush University Medical Center. (n.d.). Connect to care and COVID-19 Testing through Connect Chicago.
University System for Health (2020). Annual Report for the Fiscal Year Ended June, 30, 2020 Audited.