How quick-thinking and a transportation platform helped Brigham and Women's respond to a critical situation

Most of the time when we think non-emergent medical transportation, we think of: rides for patients to preventative care appointments; discharges from the hospital; or serving vulnerable populations who may not otherwise be able to access care.  These use cases are incredibly valuable and are often the most common reasons a healthcare system would want to provide transportation for patients.  However, once in a while, we are reminded of alternative scenarios where having a consolidated logistics platform can be activated in a pinch and thus, becomes invaluable to health systems.

 On Thursday, January 24th, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston encountered one such scenario.  Cold weather and high winds caused a glass panel to fall from a BWH building onto the street and shatter at the entrance of one of their parking garages.  The Boston Fire Department assessed the damage and at that time it was determined that the remaining panel also posed as a risk, thus shutting down the garage and preventing cars from entering or exiting.  With 375 vehicles trapped inside from noon until 7 am the next morning, this type of event can wreak havoc on the movement of both employees and patients.  Under most circumstances, it would have had major downstream effects, such as backing up discharge, inhibiting shift changes, and causing headaches for patients and their families. 

 After the extent of the damage was realized, BWH initially began distributing taxi vouchers to those who had cars parked in the garage.  While the vouchers may have seemed like an easy fix, the wait time for a taxi climbed to 45 minutes and the finite number of taxi vouchers presented a real fear of running out.  Since this is not the level of efficiency a busy hospital like BWH strives for, the team quickly switched gears and began leveraging the Circulation platform, a tool they had already been using to facilitate transportation.

 Using Circulation’s on-demand transportation exchange, staff and patients alike gained access to the mobility they needed.  The users at BWH expertly engaged with the Circulation staff to build special Cost Centers to contain the rides for the day and set the pickup address at the hospital as a favorite for easy access.  Riders were leaving the hospital within minutes in comfortable, predictable rides ordered seamlessly through Circulation’s platform.

 At Circulation, our goal is to break down transportation as a major barrier to care.  While this often means day-to-day mobility for patients, we are thrilled to be able to support and partner with our clients in generating creative solutions when they face unexpected challenges. Really, this example illustrates how a fully built-out logistics network can be activated effectively when unexpected issues arise. We applaud the quick thinking of our partners at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, as well as their preparedness in already having an established logistics platform that can be utilized to solve unique and often unexpected challenges.

Margel is an Implementation Manager at Circulation