Colorado’s Health Emergency Line for the Public (COHELP):
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Colorado’s Health Emergency Line for the Public (COHELP): Addressing Surge Capacity through Information Exchange. Gregory M. Bogdan, Ph.D. Research Director Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center Denver Health Denver, CO. Public Risk Perception. Hotline Contacts (% population).

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Colorado’s Health Emergency Line for the Public (COHELP): Addressing Surge Capacity through Information Exchange

Gregory M. Bogdan, Ph.D.

Research Director

Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center

Denver Health

Denver, CO


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Public Risk Perception

Hotline Contacts

(% population)

Event specifics (bioterrorism, child-targeted, new emerging disease) will effect the amount of public concern and numbers of people having information or others needs.


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Challenge for Preparedness

  • 2004 Redefining Readiness Project*

    • 60% of public would not heed official instructions to get vaccinated during smallpox outbreak

    • 40% of public would not heed official instructions to shelter in place during a dirty bomb incident

      * R. Lasker, Center for the Advancement of Collaborative Strategies in Health (www. cacsh.org)


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Public Needs Information on…..

  • General topic/event information

  • Public health messages

    • Personal and family protection

    • State/local health dept guidelines

    • Points of contact for referral agencies

  • Health decision-support and evaluation


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“Natural Fits”

  • Poison control centers

  • Nurse advice lines

  • Drug information centers

  • Public health agencies


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How a Medical Call Center Works

Hospitals & Healthcare Facilities

M

C

C

General

Public

patient surges reduced by providing information and triage through multiple paths

Voice

Fax

Video

Email

Web

Fax Email

Voice Web

Video

Health

Professionals

Local & State Public Health Agencies


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COHELP Objectives

  • Develop a standardized and prepared response to public health events

  • Provide consistent, accurate information

  • Collect and maintain structured data to better characterize events and responses

  • Develop capability and capacity to adapt to emerging public health emergencies


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COHELP Service Users

Public

Healthcare

Providers

COHELP

877-462-2911

Clinics

Schools

Health

Agencies

Hospitals

& EDs


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Referral Procedures

Caller

COHELP

Poison

Center

Nurse

Line

Local Health

Agencies

CDPHE

Healthcare

Providers


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Provides 1-on-1 Information

Toronto – SARS outbreak, Mar to Jun 2003

Total Calls = >300,000

Peak Daily Calls = 47,567

Deaths: 44 Cases: 438

COHELP – Two Outbreaks, Jul to Dec 2003

Total Calls = 36,170

West Nile Virus (WNV) Calls = 12,555

Deaths: 47 Cases: 2,543

Influenza/Pneumonia Calls = 23,615

Deaths: 809 Cases: 11,427


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Reduces Hospital Surge

  • United States Poison Control Centers

    • Of 2.4 million contacts about potential toxic exposures, 1.8 million (75%) were managed outside of health care facilities

  • Denver Health Nurse Line

    • Manages 40% of callers at home

    • 70% callers changed plans

    • 16% planned home care but 47% chose it after calling


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Other Benefits

  • Standardized, accurate information delivery

  • Call center infrastructure/technology

  • Adaptability

  • Integrated Web sites (www.cohelp.us)

  • Trained information providers

  • Defined referral procedures

  • Structured data collection and reporting


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Lessons Learned

  • Public health events will continue to occur and will require a response

  • Need structured, coordinated systems to respond to these events that are:

    • Cost-effective

    • Efficient

    • Accurate

    • Consistent

    • Adaptable


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More Lessons Learned

  • Call volume driven by event specifics and media attention

  • Easy to adapt messages to meet evolving public health and public needs

  • Surveillance

    • Ongoing surveillance signals

      • call volumes, topics requested, collected data

    • Sentinel event system

      • can identify new health concerns


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For More Information

  • “Health Emergency Assistance Line and Triage Hub (HEALTH) Model” report on AHRQ Web site by end of year

    • www.ahrq.gov

  • HEALTH Contact Center Assessment Tool on HSRNET or AHRQ Web sites

    • www.hsrnet.net/ahrq/surgecapacity/event3/resource.htm (available now)

    • www.ahrq.gov (available by end of year)