During COVID-19 crisis, the ROC becomes a hub

Just a few months ago, Yale New Haven Health’s Regional Operations Center (ROC) in West Haven was mostly empty, save for a handful of construction crews scattered throughout the 140,000-square-foot building.

“With COVID-19, this has turned into a hub,” said Lori Lee, as she walked through parts of the building now occupied by employees from departments throughout YNHHS.

Lee, YNHHS vice president of Corporate Supply Chain and Corporate Pharmacy Services, normally works out of an office in the Scranton Building in New Haven. These days, she’s stationed at the ROC, where she oversees ramped-up Supply Chain and Materials Management activities and the spaces where other departments have temporarily set up shop.

The ROC is being built as a central distribution point for supplies for YNHHS hospitals and facilities. The center will also include Pharmacy, Information Technology and Clinical Engineering services. Like so many other YNHHS facilities and employees, it is serving in a different capacity during the COVID-19 crisis.

Staff with Information Technology Services and other departments recently spread out in one of the building’s cavernous rooms to assemble nearly 700 telehealth stations. The stations, which are being deployed throughout YNHHS delivery networks, allow clinicians to conduct video visits with patients. ITS teams have also used the ROC to work on equipment to be added to the health system’s InSight Tele-ICU, so more intensive care unit patients can be monitored remotely.

“Along with PPE (personal protective equipment), telehealth is a tool we can use to limit people’s exposure to the virus,” said Kris Rodgerson, clinical systems engineer. “Our goal even before COVID-19 was to ensure that every patient room eventually has telehealth capabilities.”

“We’re going to be busy for a while, but we’re happy to do it,” added Michael Matthews, ITS vice president of Emerging Technologies and chief of Clinical Systems, who helped assemble the telehealth stations. “It’s amazing to me how quickly cross-department teams came together to make this happen.”

Jordan Green, a maintenance mechanic with Yale New Haven Hospital Plant Engineering, was one of the employees who brought their own tools to help assemble the telehealth carts.

“Whatever they tell us to do, we do it,” he said. “I like being able to help out.”

In another area, employees who normally work in Injury Prevention sorted and catalogued thousands of supplies donated by businesses, organizations and individuals. Physicians and staff with Infection Prevention, Environmental Services and other departments visit the ROC regularly to inspect the donations, including gloves, homemade masks, N95 respirators, cleaning supplies and other items.

“It’s amazing, the amount of donations that have come in,” said Monica Quisgard, community outreach educator, Injury Prevention. “It’s heartwarming.”

Deliveries of purchased supplies also come to the ROC, where Corporate Supply Chain and Materials Management staff track, organize and prepare items to be distributed to the different delivery networks. Each delivery is a victory for Supply Chain staff, who have worked doggedly to track down hard-to-find items.

Larry Dunn, Materials Management coordinator, said he’s lost five pounds walking all over the ROC since the COVID-19 crisis began.

“This is like Sept. 11 and Y2K multiplied by 100,” he said. “But you can’t run away from it. Everyone here has run in.”