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A Valley of Innovation—Rapid Adoption of Technological Solutions to Address COVID-19 Ibáñez, Lindley, and Jackson addressed how Vail Health uses technological innovations to address pandemic-related challenges.

About Susan Ibáñez Ibáñez is the chief information officer at Vail Health, a nonprofit community healthcare system in Colorado’s Eagle and Summit counties. Within the system are a 56-bed hospital, a 24/7 emergency care facility, and other specialty services and clinics.

About Julie Jackson Jackson is the director of applications & informatics for Vail Health. She has been with Vail Health for over four years and is also a registered nurse working with COVID-19 patients.

About Chris Lindley Lindley is the chief population health officer at Vail Health. He is also the Vail Health COVID-19 incident commander and the executive director of Eagle Valley Behavioral Health.


Julie Jackson: Outcomes, our case fatality rate is the lowest in the country. In addition, we have the highest testing rate per capita in the state and possibly in the country. What this testing allowed for was a successful summer of tourism and an uptick of visitors.

In addition, our second homeowners, which are typical with us in the winter, took up residency here with us for the duration of this summer. We protected the most vulnerable, in particular, the nursing home and senior care facilities, we only had one death related to COVID.

In our senior care facilities, we also leverage something called the near of us, which is the multi intercultural resource Alliance best wherein we were able to, it’s a mobile unit of swords, drive it into our Hispanic population, Chris mentioned earlier, it’s approximately 30%. And we did about 3500 tests or 100. tests in about 30 days. Next slide, please.

So what were our factors contributing to the success were 56-bed hospital, were small enough, I think, small enough to go fast enough definitely work to our advantage. We had an all-hands on deck, present from the top on down. This was the number one priority.

And we were able to press push other projects down and really focus on this. We had swift collaboration across disciplines and organizations. And I would really credit the model from the incident command, we, most of those folks that were working in the Incident Command Center also were part of this implementation.

Our vendor, we’re tired tirelessly, along with the Vale staff. So I don’t know if you picked up from the timeline, but we actually implemented December 28. So between Christmas and New Year’s, which is one of the busiest times of the year for us, and I recall many hours spent on the phone, designing, redesigning, troubleshooting, not only with our internal staff but with the vendor, sometimes in two nights. Long nights. Susan mentioned we didn’t let perfect get in the way of good enough.

We did many cycles of rapid improvement, continuous continuing to develop the software along with the vendor. In addition, I think we all are very familiar with healthcare is traditionally risk-averse.

What we saw in particular with our primary care providers, they were resistant to putting the schedule scheduling and then to follow registration into the hands of the patients. So I think changing that culture or having a proof of concept that then they could accept, and it was very much part of the patient experience that was so successful.

And then lastly, project management structures. So project management is new to our organization. This was one of the programs COVID testing vaccination and leveraging technology that we applied project management to and it is a force multiplier, and we certainly benefited from that.

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