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Internet system helped some hospitals

February 25, 2002|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

Hampered by occasional bed shortages, some local hospitals have turned to an Internet tracking program.

The computer program eliminates the time hospitals spend calling other hospitals if they need to find available beds, said Dr. Jack Potter, director of emergency services at Winchester Medical Center in Winchester, Va.

Hospitals that run out of emergency beds send patients to other hospitals.

Potter helped organize the Critical Care Tracking system in the northern Shenandoah Valley. The system comprises eight hospitals along Interstate 81 from Harrisonburg, Va., to West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle.

Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Ranson, W.Va., City Hospital in Martinsburg, W.Va., and War Memorial Hospital in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., are included.

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Washington County Hospital is not part of the system, which was created by a Chantilly, Va., company called EYT.

EYT describes the system as "a real-time, Web-enabled system that provides up-to-date information on critical care bed counts and the status of the emergency and ICU departments."

Potter said the northern Shenandoah Valley region might link to the northern Virginia region, which would help if there were a catastrophe in or around Washington.

After the Pentagon was struck during a terrorist attack Sept. 11, Jefferson Memorial Hospital was asked if it had available beds, hospital spokeswoman Pam Holstein-Wallace said.

The northern Shenandoah Valley region's hospitals began using the tracking system a few months ago, Potter said.

Within a month or so, emergency dispatchers in that region will start using the program, too, he said.

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