By Derek Jones, vice president of enterprise strategy, Deputy.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted one aspect of our healthcare system: the global healthcare industry was not prepared to face a crisis. The lack of preparedness has significantly disrupted the healthcare supply chain: sharp surge of demand, lack of protective equipment, shortage of medical supplies and employees protesting against unsafe work conditions have all contributed to a slowdown of the healthcare industry.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus outbreak has been rapidly progressing — more than 175 countries have reported cases of COVID-19, with more than 735,000 cases and 35,000 deaths, as of March 30.
Discussed below are the steps that healthcare facility managers should take to keep things running as smoothly as possible.
Getting ready to face a crisis
It is also essential you find the time to meet up with your staff to educate them on all the aspects of the crisis. The common end-goals for everyone should be the same: reduce fatality rate, minimize disease transmission and ensure the healthcare system is operational.
Preparing your healthcare facility
- Plan ahead for your facility’s supply of personal protective equipment to be ready to deal with any shortages.
- Get in touch with all your suppliers and work out a flexible mechanism to re-supply in case of shortages.
- Educate your workforce about infection prevention and control guidance.
- Use visual cues and alerts at entrances and strategic locations within your facility to provide instructions on hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, and cough etiquette.
- Prepare a properly sanitized containment area to welcome any infected patient or personel.
Handling patients queries
- Brainstorm different alternatives to the traditional face to face visits to limit the transmission of diseases in your facility.
- Encourage patients to use alternate advice lines, such as online portals and self-assessment tools.
- Assign the appropriate staff to handle queries you’ll be receiving via your alternate advice lines.
- Set up protocols to determine which patients can be managed remotely and which ones will need to come to your facility.
- Keep a schedule of the number of patients in your facility and advise your patients when to come in at a less crowded time.
Dealing with patients