OCHCA Streamlines Medical Transportation
Patient Logistics

Featured Innovator: OCHCA Streamlines Medical Transportation for At-Risk Mental Health Calls with VectorCare

October 11, 2022
Kennedy Peterson

When Orange County Healthcare Agency (OCHCA) behavioral health care teams respond to 5150 mental health calls in their county of 3.2 million, their first priority is making sure the patient is safe. The second: that they can quickly be transported to a secure medical facility for treatment.

Unfortunately, the latter is easier said than done.

After arriving to a call location, care team members begin the lengthy process of finding a locally contracted ambulance company available for transport. They begin manually calling down a list of providers asking: Who is available for a pick-up? How soon can they get here?

It can take upwards of 45 minutes of managing calls, waiting for responses, and being on hold with various dispatches to confirm a patient transport.

All the while, the patient remains in need of care. Staff are unable to give the patient their full attention and care as they’re fielding calls with ambulance providers.

OCHCA’s contract administrator, Tommy Bui, knew there had to be a better way. With the emergence of Lyft and Uber Health, he recognized the need for a contracted network of credentialed medical transport providers that his field specialist could instantly broadcast transportation requests to seamlessly.

Unfortunately, none of the existing solutions used by medical transportation companies were compliant with the medical requirements needed for 5150 calls. Tools like Uber Health are little help when a patient is in a true healthcare crisis.

Then Bui was introduced to VectorCare Hub.

By the Numbers:

Since using VectorCare in 2022, OCHCA has:

  • Decreased time spent by 76% per request when scheduling transportation
  • Increased its active vendor network increasing capacity by 75%
  • 10x time and financial savings over manual processing requests

Broadcast functionality, designed for healthcare

VectorCare’s patient logistics platform or “VectorCare Hub” met all the requirements for Orange County to streamline these urgent requests. It was low-cost, fully configurable, and compliant with all 5150 medical requirements.

The county could add its existing service providers to VectorCare’s extensive network and get started quickly.

“We love that it’s off-the-shelf and that we can customize it any way we’d like. If a crew member tells us we need to add a data field into a request, we can just add that on the fly.” - Tommy Bui, OCHCA Contract Administrator

Soon OCHCA had a customizable, HIPAA-compliant broadcast system that used their existing ambulance network.  

Patient-focused call responses

These days, when a care team is dispatched and arrives on the scene for a 5150, the process looks much different. A care team member does a patient assessment and determines if the patient needs to be transported to a medical center. If yes, they quickly pull out their iPhone and broadcast a 5150 service request to the contracted provider network in minutes.

They put their phone down, and now are able to give their full attention to the patient in need. No time wasted on hold or fielding logistics calls.

VectorCare Hub automatically assigns the call to the best-fit ambulance provider, who immediately heads en route to pick up the patient. Staff can view the ambulance’s location in real-time: from dispatch to patient drop-off.

Post-trip, Hub generates clear reporting on service provider performance. The entire transport process is timestamped and visible end-to-end, from care teams ordering the transport to billing administrators processing payments.

Key outcomes

Time & Budget Saved

“In a short time”, Bui explains, “we have seen the process for requesting services go from forty-five minutes to four and a half minutes- a 10x reduction in time spent per request”.

Care workers can transport the patient to safety faster, quickly moving to the next call. With this improved process, OCHCA realized a 10x savings of approximately $100,000 annually based on 5150 calls alone.

Better Patient Outcomes

Instead of wasted hours on hold with dispatch, care teams put their phones away and take care of the patient in crisis. VectorCare Hub allows teams in the field to effectively multitask without affecting care of OCHCA’s most at-risk patients.

Detailed reporting

On the administrative side, VectorCare Hub has given OCHCA new tools to analyze and improve ambulance provider performance. They can now understand how long it takes to respond to each request, transport performance metrics, key patient insurance information, and other metrics useful to planning budgets more effectively.

Business Inteiligence Tools

Expanded Provider Network

After implementing VectorCare, Orange County Healthcare Agency was able to double the number of ambulance providers able to respond to these transportation requests. Deepening their bench provides care teams with more transportation options, greater flexibility, fewer cancellations, and faster response times.

Transportation providers have also seen an improvement in how they receive requests. There is no confusion or missing information on patient details and needs, or their location when receiving requests from the care team.

Using VectorCare’s configurable healthcare logistics platform, OCHCA benefitted from the broadcast functionality of Uber/Lyft while still maintaining strict medical compliance and care requirements. Not only did they completely streamline their mental health transport process, but at the same time expanded their vendor network and improved operations through detailed reporting tools.

And this is just the beginning.

Looking Ahead: The Future of Resource Management

Following the success of 5150 transportation, VectorCare’s logistics platform has Bui excited for the future of end-to-end resource management at OCHCA.

“The way I look at it is this: I’m never going to physically go to a box office to buy a ticket anymore. I buy tickets online, pick out my seat, and take an Uber there the day of to find my seat reserved. Everything is accounted for online.

Take this same concept and apply it to the medical system. We’re going to have much more efficiency in terms of transporting patients and finding them open beds. As soon as a patient is discharged– Boom! It pops up on a screen and you know it’s available. You can reserve the bed instantly and book an ambulance to pick up your patient”

VectorCare offers pre-built workflows based on best practices Nationwide and allows for seamless configurability within minutes. This enables administrators to customize services based on their specific needs locally. Care teams can track everything from staff, to medical transportation, to DME delivery, to available patient beds.

The end result? Patients get the care they need, as soon as they need it.

Want to implement VectorCare Hub’s logistics solution at your healthcare facility? Contact us at INFO@VECTORCARE.COM to learn more.