Sentara Healthcare is a not-for-profit healthcare organization serving Virginia, northeastern North Carolina and Ohio. It is one of the top-ranked integrated healthcare systems in the United States. Sentara operates in hundreds of locations, including 12 hospitals, and provides an array of integrated services. Recognizing the critical impact of location intelligence on patient care, asset management, digital transformation and environmental factors, Sentara has embarked on an enterprise geo-data strategy.
Being an integrated healthcare network with multiple services, Sentara serves a diverse set of patients over a broad geographic area. The non-profit geocodes all its patients, members, physicians and employees. The location data is stored on a Cloudera Data Lake using Microsoft Azure, enriched with longitude-latitude, FIPS codes, What3Words and Google places.
It is a multi-dimensional approach that applies geo-enrichment attributes to all relevant data, deploying an Esri analytics platform and BLE indoor beacons. The technologies provide a comprehensive approach to identifying locations, human interactions and resources across the organization. This includes their relationship with external factors such as weather, demographics, political boundaries and transportation system.
Sentara is undertaking a parallel project to inventory all its physical locations including discrete entrances, defined parking and points-of-interest in its facilities. To semantically normalize variations of facility names, acronyms and services, a taxonomy is being developed to enable natural language search and speech recognition.
Lanzafame explains, “The next step is to put a geofence around this and start understanding as patients come into this facility, where they should go, who they are; facilitate things like automated check-in and where they should park potentially, if they’re disabled or need a wheelchair or some form of intervention. All of that can be addressed.”
Sentara purchased 27,000 indoor BLE beacons that are now installed in one of its hospital facilities. The beacons help to map indoor service locations, support wayfinding and enhance customer communications via its mobile app.
The turn-by-turn indoor navigation data from the app can be combined with the outdoor data for a complete roadmap view from the moment visitors park their car, to the time they enter the building and navigate to the service that they require.
“The other thing it gives us is a platform of geo-referenced floor plans that we can begin to use for asset management, construction management, wayfinding and a number of other things,” Lanzafame adds.
Many Sentara facilities are located in the flood-prone area of Hampton Roads region. In order to analyze all the potential scenarios in the case of flooding, Sentara downloaded the FEMA flood maps onto its GIS platform to establish a base map for preparedness.
The base map helps the team to determine which facilities and services could be unavailable, how to identify and manage vulnerable patients, to define critical time, distance, workforce capabilities and how to manage emergency management and supply chain logistics.
Sentara developed its own COVID-19 dashboard connecting directly to its patient data through an API to the Esri platform. The dashboard populates city information and the number of positive cases the city has correlated day-by-day, including the facility where the patients were tested. Locations of the positive cases are displayed on a map.
Users can view COVID-19 impact planning report from the dashboard, which features statistics on demographics, businesses and at-risk populations in the city. The dashboard also features tapestry segmentation by county for better insights on the population representation in a local area.
“In the long run, we are looking at the potential to connect our data with the national address database provided by the Department of Transportation. Since it is available in a geo-database, it can serve as a huge base map of relationships and locations. From there, we can add its attributes of demographics and population disease; and we can start applying that with our data on top to understand the larger spread of diseases and see how it affects the community at home,” Lanzafame says.
One of the products that Sentara is currently working on is space-time cubes to map opioids abuse. Patients’ geocoded home addresses will be added on top of other information in the cubes, creating a robust 3D temporal heat map.
Sentara is also working on expanding its patient profiling to include location of hospitals, type of visits, type of drugs taken as well as ingredients of the drugs. Through data enrichment, such profiling can help to detect homeless patients. The team then will see if interventions can be created by understanding the visit pattern.
In its bid to become a fully digital organization, Sentara is working on combining all of its data from outdoor, indoor beacons and IoT into one virtual component that can become a robust environment for AI, personalized services, operational efficiencies, emergency management and epidemiological applications.