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As the world continues to grapple with the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), leaders from the foremost international healthcare technology conference, HIMSS20, opted to cancel the event. WellSky applauds HIMSS for making this difficult but cautious decision to prioritize the health and safety of its team and attendees. We’re also very pleased that HIMSS is now offering virtual sessions through its new HIMSS20 Digital experience.
WellSky attended one of HIMSS’s first digital sessions — Faster, Better Together: Health System Lessons Learned in Tackling COVID-19 — hosted by Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips, Chief Clinical Officer for Providence St. Joseph Health, who has been on ground zero of the COVID-19 pandemic on the West Coast. Here are the top three things we learned:
- Community collaboration and partnership is vital in a comprehensive response to COVID-19. Health systems and other healthcare providers can work together with other organizations within their shared community to address the needs of vulnerable populations, including underserved groups, people experiencing homeless, and elderly people. Providence St. Joseph Health continues to be a resource for public health education to ensure people in their communities are equipped with information to stay safe, stay informed, and better mitigate the pandemic. The health system also works with local homeless organizations and Meals on Wheels to raise funds for necessities, like meals and hand sanitizer, to better serve people in need during this crisis.
- Telehealth technology is a powerful tool for health systems, post-acute care providers, and community care organizations. Safely treating and monitoring patients’ symptoms and condition is always vital, but especially in cases of highly transmissible diseases, like COVID-19. Telehealth solutions allow physicians and clinicians maintain a safe distance, while also ensuring that their patients still receive attentive, individualized care through virtual visits. Patients who are seen using telehealth are empowered with professional guidance and education on how they can support their own treatment and continue to monitor their symptoms through smartphones and computers.
- Clinical analytics can bring important clarity to care providers, delivering insights on how to provide care, slow spread, and allocate limited resources. Providence St. Joseph Health leverages clinical data analytics to help their organization better triage, test, and treat people in its community. Providence St. Joseph Health uses a homegrown analytics tool called the “CoVERED Tool” to help the health system better predict and plan for how the COVID-19 situation will continue to evolve. The tool gathers important information on the case volume, number of cases tested, disease activity tracking, and more. This analytics tool also delivers data to create models to help determine:
1) Which patients should be tested?
2) Which patients should be admitted?
3) How many ventilators will we need in two weeks?
In addition to these takeaways above, Dr. Compton-Phillips also shared her top six biggest learnings from her direct experience on the forefront of facing COVID-19:
- Hope for the best, but plan for the worst: Expect more epidemics
- Learn from the past: But transition to what could be
- The healthcare infrastructure is fragile: Have the plan to support it
- The environment is chaotic: Rely on science, not fear
- Establish one voice: Listen to all, then align around the evidence
- Leverage your power: Integrate and act on collective intelligence vs. standalone operations
Want more of the latest from HIMSS20 Digital?
- You can also access more free learning opportunities from HIMSS here.