HealthShare Exchange to Stand Ready with Patient Locator Service During Democratic National Convention

Friday, June 17, 2016

In July, HSX will place its uPAL service in a high state of readiness to locate patients in, or triaged to, the region’s healthcare system, during emergency, crisis, regular visitor care, or routine needs.

HealthShare Exchange of Southeastern Pennsylvania (HSX) wants to ensure that anyone looking for a loved one who might be receiving medical care in its region can find him or her promptly.  To enhance preparedness around this capability during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, in July, HSX will place on standby its patient locator service: the Urgent Patient Activity Liaison (uPAL).  HSX established the service this past September, in conjunction with the visit of Pope Francis to Philadelphia.  To enable this resource, HSX’s regionwide hospital membership provides admission-discharge-transfer (ADT) information to create a database of locations for patients who have arrived for or completed emergency department or inpatient care at area hospitals. 
Participating medical centers that might receive inquiries from family membersseeking the whereabouts of loved ones have access to the uPAL call center, staffed by HSX.  Inquiries about the location of patients can potentially come on a routine, individual basis or on a mass scale as the result of a crisis or emergency. 
With uPal available, family members of an individual who may be experiencing a medical need as a visitor and/or possibly as a result of exposure to an incident or large-scale event, whose whereabouts are not known, can contact HSX local and regional member hospitals.  Hospitals, of course, go thru their own emergency response protocols and patient location processes, but with UPAL will be able to contact HSX if needed, to locate a family member during an emergency situation.  The medical centers can query HSX directly, at which point HSX staff members search the ADT data from some 30 area hospitals currently sharing this information — with special attention, as needed in July, to medical centers nearest the convention site and visitors — and determine if an individual has been seen for medical care.  As a result, family members of located individuals can reach, find, and support a loved one in care. 
“We trust that, once again, all will go smoothly and no events — at least on a significant scale — will occur that require use of uPAL,” says Martin Lupinetti, Executive Director of HSX, “but we can offer the service as an escalation point for the city and state, as well as other authorities, and the Red Cross — providing a supplemental tool for patient tracking, if needed."