New software system will coordinate routine emergency and disaster response resources.
Hospitals in King County are improving coordination to get people the care they need in an emergency situation, thanks to the KCHealthTrac system launched today. The new web-based software system tracks emergency department status and hospital bed availability on a daily basis, enhancing healthcare providers’ ability to manage patient intake. During a large-scale disaster, the system will also act as a central clearinghouse for managing medical resources across the region.

"This robust system allows us not only to track hospital bed capacity, but also to track important medical supplies and other vital resources during a disaster," said Chris Martin, administrative director, Trauma and Emergency Services, Harborview Medical Center. "It's a great step forward for our region's emergency preparedness."

In addition to hospitals, emergency dispatch centers and Emergency Medical Services providers will be able to access KCHealthTrac to check how much capacity each emergency department has at any moment before deciding where to route ambulances.

During a large-scale emergency, KCHealthTrac will alert healthcare providers and emergency responders and function as a tool for situational awareness and management of pharmaceuticals and other medical resources. The system can also track patients and provide a public portal for reuniting family members with their loved ones. The same system was effectively used to manage the medical response after the collapse of the bridge in Minneapolis in 2007.

“This new tool will not only serve us well during catastrophic events, but will also improve health service day-to-day,” said Dr. David Fleming, Director and Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle and King County. “KCHealthTrac will allow more nimble responses to people’s medical needs, whether it’s helping ambulance dispatchers find the ER that can take one more patient or providing emergency responders with a snapshot of the healthcare system after an earthquake."

The King County Healthcare Coalition purchased the system in collaboration with Harborview Medical Center using federal funds for hospital emergency preparedness.

The King County Healthcare Coalition is a network of healthcare organizations and providers that are committed to strengthening the healthcare system for emergencies. The purpose of the Coalition is to develop a coordinated and effective medical and public health system response to all hazards through effective communications, strategic acquisition and management of resources, and collaborative response planning.