This put up was co-authored by Rebecca A. Stametz, Geisinger’s vice chairman of digital transformation; Karen Murphy, RN, its chief innovation officer; David Vawdrey, chief information informatics officer; John Kravitz, chief info officer; and Paddy Padmanabhan, CEO of Damo Consulting.
In January 2020, Geisinger, the Pennsylvania-based built-in well being system recognized for many years of scientific innovation, launched a multi-year digital strategy to make well being simpler for sufferers and members in its well being plan.
Built on a basis of superior info expertise, informatics and information science, Geisinger’s digital strategy was designed to promote steady enchancment alternatives throughout the spectrum of healthcare supply. Just because the digital strategy was starting to take form, the primary COVID-19 sufferer was admitted to a Geisinger hospital.
As with the remainder of the world, the COVID-19 disaster got here to Geisinger in a severely disruptive style. With the implementation of social distancing measures to sluggish the unfold of the virus, healthcare supply programs have drastically scaled again companies, together with suspending clinic visits, procedures and non-urgent surgical procedures.
Against these headwinds, and getting into a brand new period that might redefine healthcare, quite than sluggish innovation, COVID-19 has accelerated Geisinger’s digital efforts.
Digital instruments to combat COVID-19
COVID-19 required well being programs to shortly pivot to predominantly digital strategies of sufferer and employees engagement whereas adapting the hospital atmosphere to look after sufferers contaminated or displaying signs of the novel Corona Virus. At Geisinger, these digital efforts had been organized in three areas: 1) prevention of future infections by means of communication and schooling; 2) leveraging expertise to advance scientific protocols; and 3) pivoting massive parts of our workforce to telecommuting.
Preventing future infections by means of communication, schooling
As scientists and authorities officers continued to uncover how COVID-19 spreads and its related signs, it turned essential to have well timed and dependable communication channels that reached our communities. Such channels aided in elevating consciousness, schooling and triage protocols.
Geisinger developed an in-house cellular utility aimed to present steering to the emergency medical service communities. Our staff added a COVID-19 useful resource hub to the app as a key function that supplied dynamic content material to support our first responders that noticed an extra 400 app downloads, 3,200 app launches, and the COVID-19 useful resource hub was seen 1,075 instances.
During this identical time, we additionally launched a contact tracing program to assist establish those that might have been uncovered to COVID-19 to stop future unfold. A cross-functional staff throughout the well being system got here collectively to construct this system shortly. To date, greater than 1,100 people have been contacted to alert them of potential publicity. Phone calls are the first methodology presently, however plans are underway to increase the calls leveraging a digital platform.
This digital platform will allow contact tracing workers to attain extra people in a brief period of time and create varied digital channels for the patron to work together with the contact tracing program. This transition will embrace a linked CRM platform for our contact tracers and an interactive net chatbot, dwell agent net interplay, textual content message outreach and e mail notification for our contacts.
Leveraging expertise to advance scientific protocol
As social distancing measures prevailed as a main approach to cut back the unfold of COVID-19, visitation insurance policies throughout the hospital modified quickly in response to (almost day by day) updates in pointers. Geisinger wanted a approach to seize self-reported info from sufferers, guests, and distributors that supplied actions to employees that supported system insurance policies.
To meet this want, a digital screening methodology together with an administrative dashboard had been created to exchange the advert hoc paper course of. Digitally capturing signs and visiting location allowed the entrance traces to extra effectively observe system coverage and preserve ready rooms much less crowded.
More than 250,000 sufferers and guests throughout hospital entrances and neighborhood apply clinics had been screened for COVID-19 signs. The capacity to successfully and instantly report out on numbers screened by entrances in addition to entrance breakdown (sufferer, customer, vendor) allowed management to perceive capability and guarantee staffing ranges are applicable.
The identical sort of resolution was deployed for worker screening using the REDCap survey system. Integrated with Geisinger’s digital Employee Health system, a customized dashboard tracked the quarantine standing and return-to-work eligibility of workers who exhibited COVID-19 signs.
This allowed managers to successfully monitor their direct stories and guarantee applicable pointers are adopted when workers display screen constructive for signs. Additionally, it gives perception to management on how COVID-19 is impacting our workers, permitting for mitigation techniques and real-time planning because the state of affairs evolves.
Telemedicine availability has additionally quickly expanded. Utilizing a safe community, Geisinger is ready to present main care and entry to a big selection of specialties whereas working towards social distancing. In April and May alone, greater than 60,000 video visits occurred averaging greater than 1,000 per day. In the month earlier than COVID-19 created operational and revolutionary adjustments, Geisinger averaged 27 video visits per day.
Geisinger additionally deployed a wide range of efforts to enhance distant sufferer monitoring and total care at domestic. Programs which can be presently in place embrace distant monitoring tools with no or restricted connectivity capabilities for periodic spot checking and an app that helps seize and handle signs over a 14-day interactive care plan. And we plan to announce a steady domestic monitoring system for probably the most at-risk COVID-19 sufferers who don’t require hospitalization.
Pivoting the workforce to telecommuting
Before Pennsylvania introduced a state-wide shelter-at-home coverage, Geisinger acted to transfer all non-clinical employees to a predominantly distant workforce. In the quick aftermath of the pandemic, Geisinger had round 13,000 distant workers, a doubling of the earlier distant workforce. This meant enabling workers with the expertise instruments required to proceed to be efficient in supporting the group. It additionally required IT infrastructure that was sufficiently sturdy to cope with massive will increase in distant customers.
Like many well being programs, Geisinger’s main concern was defending the wellbeing of its employees and decreasing the incidence of COVID-19 transmission. This work has enabled us to help each clinicians straight in-patient care and non-clinical workers as they transitioned to working from domestic.
The silver lining
While enterprise as standard modified dramatically in a short while, Geisinger didn’t take our eye of the true digital transformation North Star: a reimagined future. As a outcome, we’ve modernized our utility programming interface and microservices structure, developed an enterprise strategy for sufferer/member information, and rationalized our utility infrastructure.
Our expertise with COVID-19 uncovered a chance to accelerate a lot of our preliminary investments. And our staff acknowledged they have to proceed to push ahead on our digital transformation initiatives to place ourselves for the post-pandemic future.
If there’s a silver lining, it could be this: we’ve created a tradition that embraces digital well being expertise. And we consider the acceleration of digital transformation could have long-lasting constructive impacts for our frontline employees, sufferers and the communities served, which can at all times be first precedence.