Blue Shield of California Offers Digital Hospital-Triage Tool to Network Health Systems to Help Handle Anticipated Surge of COVID-19 Patients

OAKLAND, Calif., March 18, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Shield of California is offering a new digital tool to its network hospitals at no additional cost to help them triage the influx of patients seeking advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) or other medical care.

This is the latest effort by the nonprofit health plan to support public health during the ongoing coronavirus crisis by helping hospitals be more effective and efficient in caring for their patients.

The "COVID-19 Screener and Emergency Response Assistant" (COVID-19 SERA) is a tool that patients can access via Internet-connected smartphone, tablet or computer on a participating hospital's website. COVID-19 SERA can be customized for each health system's emergency response plan, and it is updated in real-time with latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO).

Patients would access COVID-19 SERA on a hospital's websites, answer a few basic questions and based on their reply, they would be directed to the appropriate medical settings for their health situation. The idea is to point patients in the most appropriate care setting so hospitals can better manage inflow of patients.

The COVID-19 SERA service can be implemented on a hospital's website within 48 hours. Blue Shield will cover the costs for its network hospitals to implement, update and be licensed to use COVID-19 SERA system for three months during the pandemic.

"The tool provides relief to hospitals' overburdened call centers and front-desk resources. It can direct low-acuity cases to the appropriate medical settings and provide relevant information to patients affected by COVID-19 so that they can quickly receive medical care and help curb community transmission," said Terry Gilliland, M.D., executive vice president, Healthcare Quality and Affordability at Blue Shield. "These are trying times for everyone and we believe this system can make a difference for hospitals as they do their best to provide medical care for patients."

The COVID-19 SERA is developed by GYANT, a San Francisco-based company that uses artificial intelligence to provide digital services that help people access appropriate care.

About Blue Shield of California
Blue Shield of California strives to create a healthcare system worthy of our family and friends that is sustainably affordable. Blue Shield of California is a tax paying, nonprofit, independent member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association with over 4 million members, 6,800 employees and more than $20 billion in annual revenue. Founded in 1939 in San Francisco and now headquartered in Oakland, Blue Shield of California and its affiliates provide health, dental, vision, Medicaid and Medicare healthcare service plans in California. The company has contributed more than $500 million to Blue Shield of California Foundation since 2002 to have an impact on California communities.

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     Matthew Yi

     Blue Shield of California



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SOURCE Blue Shield of California