As the federal special pathogen framework evolved, and the state tiering structure was announced, Spectrum Health willingly became one of two Tier 1 healthcare organizations, the only program including pediatric patients, within the state of Michigan. This Tier 1 designation recognizes Spectrum Health having the capability to care for special pathogen patients for the duration of their illness. Dedicated team members participated in education offered at both Emory and Nebraska. Unit and care flow designs were developed following best practices minimizing team member/visitor exposure to any seriously contagious disease.
Spectrum Health will utilize their Tier 1 structure expertise to complete the following proposed activities and deliverables within this one year grant period: 1. Standards and guidance: Spectrum Health will utilize NSPS standards for training/education to partner hospitals and EMS agencies; develop and maintain communication pathways; and develop and maintain a training team of subject matter experts (SME) to guide training/education to partnering agencies. 2. Building research capability and capacity will be achieved through collaboration with Spectrum Health Office of Research, Infectious Disease experts, and NSPS to participate in clinical trials for special pathogen treatments. A multidisciplinary team will be developed to build clinical pathways for special pathogen response; and work to identify and overcome limitations of current personal protective equipment. 3. Workforce and training: The current Spectrum Health special pathogen specialist and care team members will recruit and maintain a team roster of SMEs to facilitate effective responses to special pathogen needs throughout local, state, and national communities. This team will design and test care models to meet the needs of the special pathogen response according to the impacted patient population and will participate in all NSPS planning activities to ensure best practices are implemented into protocols, trainings, and exercises while evaluating for effectiveness. 4. Support for safe patient care delivery: Spectrum Health will perform special pathogen team trainings and/or drills for the safe transport and care of patients with special pathogens within the system as well as participates in the training development of outside transports with regional/state partners. 5. Communication and coordination will be key to the success of this project. Spectrum Health has strong partnerships with Michigan healthcare facilities, EMS agencies, local, state, and HPP regional partners ensuring effective collaborat
ion. This team will collaborate with local, state, regional and NSPS partners to develop effective and standardized communication plans facilitating education and meaningful dialogue strengthening the special pathogen response. 6. Monitoring and evaluation: Adoption of the current RESPTC’s performance metrics once defined will be key. Spectrum Health will incorporate this data retrieval into current practices through either the business assurance or the data and analytics teams. These teams have proven throughout the pandemic they are nimble and adapt to the defined data repositories and data collection requirements.
The outcome of this project will identify Spectrum Health as one of 13 RESPTCs within the U.S. strengthening the National Special Pathogen System of Care Strategy (NSPS). Spectrum Health will enhance their current program to function in a Regional capacity to safely care for patients with exposure to or a confirmed special pathogen. This project will be coordinated by Spectrum Health in collaboration with local, state, and regional health departments as well as the current RESPTC partners, specifically those located in FEMA Region V.