Week 21 Newsletter

September 1 2020 Updates

Surge Capacity Strategies
Fears of a second surge of COVID-19 cases are leading hospitals in New York City and Massachusetts to stockpile personal protective equipment and enact new protocols.

Surge Capacity Resources

(08/28/20) New York City Nervously Braces for Another ‘Explosive Spread’
New York City was the epicenter of COVID-19 cases as the pandemic first reached the United States. Although the spread of COVID-19 has been kept under control for months, fears of another large surge in cases are leading hospitals in the city to stockpile personal protective equipment and make other preparations.

(08/26/20) Preparations for Second Surge of Coronavirus Underway
This article covers some of the preparations being made in hospitals across Massachusetts ahead of an anticipated second surge of COVID-19 cases. Stockpiling personal protective equipment, standardizing protocols, and improving staffing are all aims of this preparation effort.

The widespread adoption of telehealth technology is leading to discussions on the innovative opportunities for its continued use.

Telehealth Resources

(08/30/20) Fad or Future? Telehealth Expansion Eyed Beyond Pandemic
This article published by the Associated Press highlights how regulatory flexibility and technological advancement have enabled telehealth to expand rapidly under the COIVID-19 pandemic. Following this expansion are calls for a permanent place for telehealth in this enlarged capacity.

(08/27/20) Using Telehealth to Revolutionize the Speed of Making Rare Disease Diagnoses
This opinion piece discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic has led to rapid adoption of telehealth technology, and enabled some significant potential benefits of this expansion. As telehealth use increases and more providers utilize the technology, there is hope for increased speed and collaboration in making difficult, rare diagnoses.

(08/26/20) Can Telehealth Help Medical Practices Ditch the Waiting Room?
An article covering some of the unanticipated benefits of utilizing telehealth technology, especially in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Allowing patients to virtually check in, fill out forms, match insurance, and more can help clear waiting rooms and enable safer access to health care.

State Workforce Strategies
Hawaii’s workforce stakeholders are working with the state to address shortfalls in supply for nurses to treat patients following a recent spike in hospitalizations.

State Workforce Strategies
(08/13/20) Lives Cut Short: Remembering Health Care Workers in Their 20s Killed by COVID-19
An article featured on NPR discussing the realities of the risks health care workers face to continue providing care throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. While the risk of COVID-19 is highest in the elderly, many workers early in their careers have succumbed to the disease.

(08/13/20) US Hospitals Pressure Healthcare Staff to Work Even if They Have COVID Symptoms
A joint investigation from The Guardian and Kaiser Health News has found that many health care workers were either forced to or encouraged to return to work while experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, potentially putting themselves and their colleagues at risk.

Policies and Guidelines
As hospitals continue to deal with reduced patient volume and cost of new protocols and personal protective equipment as a result of the pandemic, more furloughs are being announced for health care providers.

Utilization of new and innovative technology could help health care providers improve their quality of service and reduce the burden of non-patient care related components of their work during the pandemic.

Policies and Guidelines

(08/26/20) COVID-19 Underscores the Need for Digital Quality Measurement
This blog post from Health Affairs highlights the importance of digital quality measurement, a method to combat weaknesses to developing clinical guidelines shown throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Utilizing digital quality measurement can enable better care with less burden on clinicians.

(08/24/20) Financial Fallout from COVID-19: 38 Hospitals Laying Off Workers
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on budgets for hospitals, across the country layoffs and furloughs are continuing to be a problem many health care workers are facing. Low patient volume, lack of elective procedures, and increased costs of operation are causing significant hardship for these clinics.

(08/22/20) Rural Hospitals Are Sinking Under COVID-19 Financial Pressures
This story from NPR discusses the impact of COVID-19 on rural hospitals throughout the United States, many of which were already facing significant funding issues prior to the pandemic. Rural hospitals depended on federal aid early in the pandemic, but are now facing a crisis point with immediate need and little indication of any more aid to come.

Health Workforce Safety
According to a joint investigation by Kaiser Health News and The Guardian, more than 1,000 US health care providers have died of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, many of whom were minorities and immigrants.

Health Workforce Safety

(08/26/20) Over 1,000 US Health Workers Died of COVID-19. Many Were Immigrants and Minorities
Continuing their Lost on the Frontline series, Kaiser Health News and The Guardian published this piece highlighting the deaths of over 1,000 health care workers in the United States from COVID-19 infection. Many of those who died were immigrants and minorities.

(08/26/20) Mindfulness Eases Stress, Anxiety Among Healthcare Providers
An article discussing new research published in JAMA which found that mindfulness programs can decrease anxiety and stress in health care providers. While the authors found this to be desirable, they noted that there were no significant improvements in symptoms of burnout, a major cause for concern among providers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

(08/22/20) As Pandemic Persists, Health Care Heroes Beginning to Crack Under the Strain
Another article covering the impact the pandemic is having on health care workers, with increasing concern about the burden of non-stop COVID focus and potential for burnout. There is also concern for health care providers of Latinx backgrounds, who are increasingly seeing their own communities experience more severe impacts of COVID-19 than others.