On November 22, 1963, a presidential motorcade raced to Parkland Hospital’s emergency room in Dallas, USA, where former US-President Kennedy was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival. Today, Parkland Hospital has the busiest emergency room in the United States, with over 240.000 visits in 2019. Due to the epic challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Parkland is once again making history.
Parkland Hospital’s Mission
The mission of Parkland Hospital, a 17-story, 862-bed facility, is to provide the highest quality medical care for Dallas County’s residents. The hospital’s staff has been determined to maintain their top standards even as the arrival of COVID-19 threw them into crisis mode. The outbreak of the pandemic in the US in mid-March 2020 overwhelmed Parkland Hospital’s call center with Covid-19 inquiries and testing requests: Being on hold for about forty-five minutes per patient, only to note that one’s fever isn’t high enough to get tested led to time constraints to resolutely face the crisis. On the one hand, the hospital had to find an immediate solution ensuring patients with moderate to severe symptoms swift access to healthcare practitioners. On the other hand, the hospital wanted to offer quick and transparent answers to all patients with Covid-19-related questions. In only nine days Parkland and the SAP project team came up with a simple but critical solution, tapping into the comprehensive suite of interoperable, innovative solutions offered by SAP’s Business Technology Platform.
Online COVID-19 Symptom Checker
In close cooperation with the hospital management, the team developed the Covid-19 Symptom Checker: a self-service chatbot for patients requiring immediate assistance and/or initial screening for the virus, built on SAP Cloud Platform and SAP Conversational AI. Within three days, the SAP project team was able to share a working prototype with Parkland, nine days later the chatbot went live. And within its first two days on the Parkland website over 400 community members had used the chatbot.
The easy-to-use tool gives patients mobile access and real-time, accurate responses to COVID-19 inquiries, which, in turn, reduces the number of face-to-face health assessments required – an important step in keeping health care workers, administrators, and patients safe! It also provides bilingual support in Spanish and English, an essential feature for the Parkland patient base.
We at Parkland are dedicated to the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities that we serve by setting the standard of excellence for public and academic healthcare systems. Our clinical staff utilizes electronic dashboards built with the Business Technology Platform and Qualtrics XM from SAP for analytics, planning and sentiment analysis. We understand that a fully integrated, technology foundation is critical for the 240 thousand-plus Emergency Room patients we care for yearly, and for supporting our future growth and innovation.– Scott Harrison, Chief Data Officer, Parkland Health & Hospital System
History shows us that crises often inspire innovation. Since the onset of ‘shelter in place’ and physical distancing measures, the SAP Customer Innovation team has been working on a flexible, holistic, virtual co-innovation model. This project with Parkland Hospital serves as a great example for how SAP was able to co-innovate with a customer quickly and deliver great results, in a fully remote scenario.
Quick, agile and cost-effective business innovations are key in today’s rapidly changing environments. Let’s continue putting out talents and technologies to good use. We are all in this together.