A look inside the One Hospital Command Center

Published April 29, 2021, 7:12 PM

by Jhon Aldrin Casinas

* From April 1 to 10, the command center entertained 22,011 calls; most were inquiries seeking admission to a hospital.

* The phone lines are manned by a staff of 33 health program officers and volunteers on eight-hour shifts, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

* The OHCC was created to reduce the waiting time of patients by referring them to the appropriate health facility that would provide for the level of care needed.

* To contact OHCC: Use the Pure Force Citizens app which can be downloaded from Google Play store and App Store for free.

* Or, call the OHCC landline — 02-886-505-00,  or mobile numbers 0915-777-7777 or 0919-977-3333.

* Or, scan the QR code posted on its official social media accounts

A telephone call is a very precious resource at this time of a health crisis.  Especially if that call reaches the One Hospital Command Center (OHCC), it could cut the time to get a COVID-19 patient to get proper medical care when a hospital bed is not an easily-available commodity at the height of the second wave of the pandemic.

The call will facilitate health facility referral, medical transport and patient pick-up arrangements.

The number of calls the center has entertained from April 1 to 10 — 22,011 transactions — states how serious the need for a hospital bed has become. During that period, the number of new COVID-19 cases a day ranged between 7,000 to 13,000 cases, with a record-high of 15,310 new infections reported on April 2. That’s about 2,200 inquiries a day, most of them asking for  hospital admission.

Of the number, 19,623 transactions or 89.2 percent were tagged as “closed transactions.” The number of transactions started increasing during the months of February and mid-March.

In the recent weeks, many people have complained of the difficulty to connect to the command center. The surge in new cases had increased the number of calls to OHCC. 

There, the phone lines are manned by a staff of 33 health program officers, aside from volunteers from various government agencies, working on eight-hour shifts, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Each call is processed at an average of three minutes, enough time to get the caller’s name and all the significant information about the patient.

Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary and treatment czar Leopoldo “Bong” Vega assured that additional telephone lines will be set-up to meet the increased demand from people seeking assistance with their hospital needs and other concerns.

With hospital occupancy still at its peak, authorities have been encouraging the public to coordinate first with their local government units or with their barangay health emergency response teams (BHERTs) instead of directly going to hospitals.

Aside from contacting the LGUs, people in need of hospital referral are encouraged to seek the help of the OHCC.

Established in August last year, the OHCC is responsible for a comprehensive and coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring effective and efficient health facility referral in Metro Manila.

“The OHCC was created to reduce the waiting time of patients by referring them to the appropriate health facility that would provide for the level of care needed including proper triaging,” Vega said.

“The OHCC was also created to relieve the burden on the healthcare system by ensuring that cases are referred to capable and available facilities,” he added.

The OHCC also provides health system capacity data analytics and and optimize the use of critical care services of every hospital in the metro.

The headquarters of the OHCC is located at the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Arena in Makati City.

Although most of the calls received by the OHCC are inquiries on hospital admission, there were also inquiries related to inter-facility transfer and tele-consultation.

“The OHCC has improved its patient navigation and telemedicine,” Vega said. “Telemedicine consultations have been strengthened as a tool for triage and prompt detections of cases.”

How to contact OHCC

Those in need of hospital referral can seek help from the OHCC by using the Pure Force Citizens application which can be downloaded in Google Play store and App Store for free.

Pure Force Citizens app is a private initiative to provide a single tool to seek for help in times of emergency.

The public can also reach the OHCC through its landline number — 02-886-505-00 — or mobile numbers — 0915-777-7777 or 0919-977-3333.

People can also access its services by scanning the QR codes posted on its official social media accounts.

Telemedicine

The Health department is urging people to avail of the services offered by the following accredited medical websites offering tele-consultation:

CloudPx: https://econsult.cloudmd.com.ph/

HealthNowPH: https://healthnow.ph/

SeeYouDoc: https://www.seeyoudoc.com

“Call the OHCC for your medical consultation. The public should also call their LGUs through their BHERTs in order to inform them of the patient’s status or condition and for contact tracing,” Vega said.

“In case of mild symptoms, the public is reminded to call their LGUs in order to facilitate the transfer from their homes to temporary treatment and monitoring facilities. On the other hand, call the OHCC in case of severe cases for hospital referrals,” he added.

Healthcare utilization rate in NCR

In a televised interview on April 27, the country’s treatment czar said healthcare utilization rate in Metro Manila has decreased.

From 76 percent in late March, he said that the healthcare utilization rate in the National Capital Region (NCR) dropped to roughly 65 percent as of April 26. The utilization rate of intensive care units (ICU) in the region also decreased to 71 percent from about 79 percent in March 25.

“We’re still not out of the woods,” Vega said. “But we’re trying to make sure that all of the institutions or the health facilities can make the necessary allocations for access for COVID-19 patients.”

Moreover, DOH data showed that 57 percent of the total 3,800 isolation beds are being utilized, 64 percent of around 2,200 hospital ward beds in NCR are in use, while 58 percent of the ventilators are being utilized.

Rows of tables with computers and telephone lines manned by health officers fill the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Gymnasium, which serves as the headquarters of the government’s One Hospital Command.
Health officers and volunteers from various government agencies take turns answering calls from people seeking immediate medical and emergency assistance.
The gymnasium of Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) located at its headquarters in Makati City was converted to serve as the main hub of One Hospital Command Center.
The center was created to reduce the waiting time of patients by referring them to the available health facility that would provide for the level of care needed including proper triaging.
The public can access the services of the center through its dedicated telephone numbers and via the Pure Force Citizens app which can be downloaded for free in Google Play store and App Store.
 
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