Wrap your head around these figures.
From October 1, 2019, through January 25, 2020, the CDC estimates that (in the United States alone) there have been:
34-49 million flu illnesses
16 to 23 million flu medical visits
350,000 to 620,000 flu hospitalizations
20,000 to 52,000 flu deaths
That’s just the flu, now we have to worry about the Coronavirus!
As a health care professional in a hospital, you serve important roles in ensuring staff immunizations, schedule management, communications, and compliant documentation. With various contagious illnesses floating around throughout the year, coupled with paperwork and compliance demands, it’s easy to lose focus of basic practices to help keep yourself and your staff sickness-free.
Even though it’s now considered a domestic and international health emergency and has been dominating the news cycle recently, it’s still far too early to realize the gravity and ultimate impact of the Coronavirus. However, if the aforementioned numbers prove anything, it’s that the flu is still deadly and we should continue our efforts in preventing its spread. Since the flu is a virus and there’s no miracle “one and done” pill to take, we have to stay vigilant with doing all we can to prevent and prepare for the flu.
Here are some tips on how your hospital and employees can prepare for flu season:
- Keep your employee list and consent forms updated: Make it a regular habit to keep your employee list updated, so when flu season hits, you can make sure all employees are compliant. If they’re not, reach out to notify them that their flu vaccine is needed, or confirm that documentation or a waiver for the vaccine is on file. Also, ensure the correct consent forms are available. Each year, there is a different type of flu virus that the vaccine is targeting. Be diligent about having the most up to date consent form to identify the strain of the virus the flu is targeting for the year.
- Place “keep your hands clean” signs EVERYWHERE: Healthcare professionals know this and it sounds like rudimentary advice, but you’d be surprised how many people do not wash their hands as often as they should. Make a note to plaster key areas with signs reminding your employees about the importance of washing their hands in highly populated areas or receive a lot of traffic like breakrooms, bathrooms, reception areas, etc. The more the better! I’d also recommend keeping a bottle of hand sanitizer around those areas, as well as on your desk, in your car, and with you always.
- Ensure staff is up to date with flu shots: From a health, safety and compliance standpoint, it’s a must to make sure staff are up to date with flu shots. With so many sick patients and employees coming in and out of the hospital, staff must follow precautionary measures to help stop the spread of sickness. One of those precautionary measures is making sure you and your staff get their flu shot. If an employee is exempt from getting a flu shot, it’s imperative they wear medical masks around patients. If your hospital runs flu shot clinics, make sure all employees are informed and take advantage.
One last thing.
A question I’m often asked is: “How can specialized employee health software help my clinic during flu season?”
If your hospital utilizes a specialized employee health solution, it needs to include features that can aid the overwhelming nature of the flu season and your various other challenges. We’re still months away from where clinics start flu preparation but it’s never too early to be aware and prepared. Here are a few ways an employee health solution can help your clinic during flu season:
Compliance reporting: A compliance reporting suite is a huge benefit for flu reporting. If employees don’t get the flu vaccine, depending on the organization, a compliance function enables your staff to:
- Ensure that an exemption form is on file for employees who are officially exempt,
- Identify and notify non-compliant employees that they are past due for a flu vaccine, and
- Generate alerts to managers about which employees are non-compliant.
Quick load for fast data entry: A strong employee software solution enables your staff to easily record each vaccination. For example, when staff are entering vaccinations for a list of employees, they should only have to enter the specific vaccine information the first time. The data should replicate for each additional entry to significantly reduce your staff’s data-entry time!
Integration with scanners: If your department uses handheld scanners, integrate them with your software solution! This enables your staff to save even more time.
Need professional consultation or want to learn how Agility can satisfy your employee health and occupational medicine needs? Download a brochure to learn how the Net Health 360 Professional Services programs can help you conquer the most complex problems in specialized lines of work or request a demo of Agility today!