Building the Ship While Sailing the COVID-19 Tidal Wave: CHI Franciscan

CHI Franciscan, based in Tacoma, WA, found itself in the epicenter of the country’s first outbreak. Tracy Bradfield, the system’s Laboratory Director, oversees the labs at eight hospitals that process over 400,000 tests a month. She sat down with 4Sight Health’s Dave Johnson to discuss how they had to rapidly develop a plan to manage the overwhelming test needs and their preparation for future health emergencies.

In the early days of the pandemic before CHI Franciscan had the ability to test in house, they needed to send samples to the University of Washington lab. As the logistics provider for CHI Franciscan, MedSpeed worked with Bradfield and her team to set up a specimen pickup process from each hospital every two hours, 24×7. With frequent loops to the testing facility, CHI Franciscan received faster test results for treatment.

Eventually, the FDA approved the PCR test and CHI Franciscan was able to do more of the testing in house. At the peak, they were performing nearly 2,500 tests per week. They collaborated with the supply chain to share insights and support their PPE allocation strategies.

“As our lab saw COVID test volume increasing in certain geographies, we used those insights to notify the supply chain team of potential outbreaks.” Bradfield continued, “They then repositioned additional PPE at those facilities, using MedSpeed to cross-dock the materials at their hub. This resulted in advanced notice for our supply chain teams, making our system more adaptable.”

Bradfield notes, “We all learned how important labs are, especially during a public health emergency like a pandemic. And, as well as testing, logistics systems can make an enormous difference in care.”

Read the full interview with Tracy Bradfield of CHI Franciscan here.


This article is part two of our three-part series that highlights the innovative ways MedSpeed’s customers have worked to overcome the challenges of COVID-19. Part three will be released in the coming weeks.

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