Hospital command center leaders have never had to run an incident response on the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whereas a typical emergency event (e.g., flooding, earthquakes, multivehicle collisions, or shootings) causes rapid patient influx with an identifiable starting and stopping point, the novel coronavirus has an ongoing, inestimable impact. The extensive duration, combined with high transmission risks and a massive scope of impact, demand that health systems prepare for complex facility, equipment, and staffing needs. Their best strategy is to leverage data-driven tools to scale their existing emergency response plans for COVID-19’s unprecedented proportions.
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As Health Catalyst continues to engage its health system partners in their COVID-19 journeys through virtual client huddles, topics are delving further into restarting ambulatory care and elective procedures. The May 21, 2020, forum explored how organizations are responding to the pandemic and planning for the next phases. Participants explored two vital topics in the COVID-19 era:
- How virtual care analytics supports rapid change in ambulatory care delivery.
- How analytic insights help drive a COVID-19 financial recovery plan.
More than 100 attendees joined the first of a series of Health Catalyst virtual client huddles designed to support client partners and aid collaboration and direct client connections in this time of unprecedented change. According to an April 2020 survey of Health Catalyst clients, 72.6 percent said they had a strong interest in examples, guidance, and tools from other health systems. In the client-only session, insights shared included the most common COVID-19 analytic projects and one health system’s elective surgery plan. The health system shared the challenges they faced in understanding the financial impact of halting elective surgeries as well as creating a plan for working through their backlog. They also shared the tools and strategies they are using to aid their financial recovery.
With no known end to the COVID-19 social distancing directives, many healthcare organizations are shifting some team members to remote work arrangements. Clinicians offering telehealth services, case managers, as well as administrative, financial, and IT teams and others contributing away from the frontlines of care are candidates to work from home while continuing to support their organization’s operations. Though a shift in normal processes, research has shown that remote workers can be as or more productive as they are in the office setting and often report high levels of job satisfaction. Following best practices for remote-first work will help team members, managers, and organizations transition to and thrive in a distributed setting.
Social distancing, effective hand-washing techniques, sneezing into elbows, and the like are critical means of mitigating the spread and impact of COVID-19, but the pandemic has also prompted another area of concern: cybersecurity. A growing remote workforce, more collective time online, and increasingly frequent social engineering attacks that take advantage of public curiosity about and fear of the novel coronavirus are exposing system and network vulnerabilities. Remote workers can increase their online safety by refreshing and ramping up cyber-hygiene best practices, including learning to recognize and report suspicious emails and protecting home internet connections.