The COVID pandemic has been a wake-up call for healthcare facilities.
There’s no way we could have prepared or predicted the sheer devastation this virus would cause, nor can we predict its ultimate impact. But if there’s a lesson to learn from this pandemic, it’s that we must learn from our mistakes and do better now and in the future. COVID has put healthcare facilities under a bright spotlight, revealing that more regular and stringent aseptic techniques should have always been in place and followed to prevent the spread of viruses and diseases.
This year has been a rollercoaster, and 2020 still isn’t over yet – we’re still not sure if we’re on the other side of this pandemic.
With so much going on and so much that’s transpired since March, I’d like to share some observations, thoughts, and experiences I’ve had over the last several months, from the move to virtual consultations with clients to dealing with flu season and COVID simultaneously.
Visiting Clients On-site
As a clinical solutions consultant, I regularly visit my clients’ facilities, helping them with our Agility software and configuring their workflows to best fit their business. Since March, I’ve only traveled twice to go on-site to meet with clients. It was during one of those visits that I experienced a substantial difference in my typical consulting process.
An important component of my job is observing how my clients operate and pointing out ways they can improve. This, of course, requires being in close proximity to people, which goes against social distancing guidelines. So to adhere to safety precautions, I met with employees individually in a conference room from a safe distance and they talked through their workflows, rather than me physically observing in real-time. It didn’t give me the true sense of how they operated; however, it was enough of an adjustment for me to still consult with my client while maintaining a safe and healthy distance.
Making the Switch to Virtual
As the country was rapidly shutting down, Net Health was quick to adapt, making sure we were ready for remote work. Heck, in about a month’s time, we were able to roll out our COVID exposure tracking solution to support our employee health clients in need during that chaotic time. It was admittedly odd thinking about transitioning to a virtual-only consultation environment but it’s been an eye-opening experience so far.
Using virtual means to conduct business is the wave of the future and applying that structure and approach to our professional services is a must to keep the machine running. Not only are we still providing top-notch consultations and workflow configurations, but we’re also doing it safely and more efficiently than before. While nothing beats meeting my wonderful clients in-person, I’m thankful the virtual option is available and has been a success.
Preparing for Flu Season With COVID
I’ve noticed a higher than usual amount of anxiety surrounding this flu season due to the ongoing pandemic. Not only are the flu and COVID both viruses, but they both have similar symptoms, which feeds into the anxiousness people have already been dealing with since March. People are understandably worried as they start getting runny noses and a tickle in their throats.
My advice this flu season: get your flu shot!
Keep yourself as safe as possible and ease your stress level by getting your annual flu shot. Yes, symptoms between COVID and the flu are similar, but if you get your flu shot and you develop symptoms, this means it could be something other than the flu, like COVID.
I’m also often asked how to prepare for this flu season with the lingering threat of COVID, and my answer is simple: keep doing what you’re doing.
Follow the CDC’s COVID guidelines by always wearing a mask when possible, social distancing, disinfecting when appropriate, and consistently washing your hands. Also, make sure staff are regularly being educated on developments to the guidelines and they’re being diligent with following them.
All-in-all: Don’t let your guard down
We’re not out of the woods yet with regards to the pandemic. Treatment and our overall understanding of the virus have improved since March, but cases are still spiking nationally and there’s no definitive news on a rollout of an effective vaccine. Until the latter is figured out, we must remain vigilant in coming together to keep each other safe.
I’ve noticed in the years leading up to the pandemic that there was a relaxed approach to the very practices that help prevent the spread of COVID. The toll the virus has taken has already forced healthcare facilities to reevaluate their aseptic measures of handwashing, wearing a mask and gloves, etc. It’s important to keep up these safety practices not only now, but even whenever this thing is over.
I don’t think any of us want to live through another pandemic ever again.