So many things have changed since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. It can feel nearly impossible to keep up with all the changes. But that’s exactly what hospitals must do if they want to turn the tide. As healthcare continues to evolve, healthcare professionals should think out of the box when it comes to hospitals and COVID care.
So how does one know where to start? After acknowledging that things will never be the same, it’s time to look to the future. Healthcare organizations hold the power to be innovators during this time and the years to come. Here are some ways COVID-19 has and continues to affect the healthcare spectrum, and what healthcare organizations should focus on to succeed now and in the future.
Streamlining care until there’s a breakthrough for hospitals and COVID care: Even though vaccines are on the way, there has still yet to be a single breakthrough for the treatment of COVID-19. Hospitals are having to figure out the best ways to streamline care for their patients. Implementing protocols and maintaining close communication are two ways that are helping staff members deal with uncharted waters. Here’s a brief overview of what members of the Division of Hospital Medicine at Dell Medical School at The University of Texas in Austin have researched and discovered about the treatment of COVID-19 over the past 9 months:
“In the absence of a single therapeutic cure or breakthrough, caring for a COVID-19 patient requires the hospital system to instead do a thousand things conscientiously and consistently. This is supportive care: most patients will get better with time and attentive evaluation for end-organ complications like myocarditis, encephalopathy, or pressure ulcers. It requires nursing to patient ratios that allow for this type of vigilance, with shared protocols, order sets, and close communication among team members. The treatment of COVID-19 continues to evolve, but as we confront rising hospital volumes nationally, it is important to standardize care for patients throughout each of the 3 stages of illness until we find that single breakthrough.”
Leaning on effective communication: Communication is a powerful force, which is why healthcare organizations are relying heavily on it during this challenging time. Hospital and clinical leader members of the American Hospital Association and American Society of Anesthesiologists share some insights on what it takes to provide patients with exceptional care and keep employees safe:
“Constant communication is key for the entire team. “We had daily situation calls, daily hospital-wide safety huddles, weekly workgroup meetings and frequent video messages for staff to keep our team informed and give them as much support as possible,” said Bruce Flanz, president and CEO of Medisys. But timely communication is especially critical in informing anesthesia staff who lead COVID-19 patient management.”
Students and innovation of care: For hospitals and COVID care, staff are being forced to think outside the box when it comes to teaching their students. In some ways, this pandemic has brought about changes that needed to take place earlier. Outside a medical setting, students are now learning things virtually, such as participating in patients’ transition of care. So far, making students virtual members of hospital-based COVID teams is proving effective. Providing innovation of care such as this is vital for healthcare organizations moving forward.
“As noted by Jamie Notter, “innovation is change that unlocks new value.” The challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic presented brought with them new opportunities for value-added medical education. Rather than excluding our students from clinical care entirely, we leaned in and looked for new opportunities to advance care and education in novel ways. The COVID-19 pandemic is teaching all of us that the practice of medicine will never be the same. We want our learners to be prepared for the future, and to see obstacles as opportunities—one of the key competencies we hope to foster in the next generation of physicians who are prepared to lead innovative change in health. The educational innovations prompted by the pandemic are examples of the creativity that disruption can create.”
As things continue to evolve and change with COVID-19, Cloudmed is committed to helping our hospital system clients enjoy complete and accurate revenue integrity. We will continue to keep you apprised of the latest news and healthcare solutions.