Health System Success in Managing COVID-19
By Bernard Ravitz
Bernard Ravitz, MD, PAC-CDI, CHCQM-PHYADV
Medstar Health is a healthcare system that spans central Maryland and the District of Columbia. As Physician Advisor for MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, I am so proud of Medstar Health and how our system of 10 hospitals has been able to manage capacity and redeploy personal and equipment during this pandemic. We recently discharged our 1000th COVID-19 patient as a system and I would like to share highlights on how we have achieved successful outcomes.
Our COVID-19 preparations and response are guided by three critical drivers:
- Providing a safe care environment for our patients and associates
- Mitigating community spread of COVID-19 through social distancing
- Ensuring operational continuity to fulfill our core mission of caring for our communities
In tandem, we offer additional associate support and resources, uniting as One MedStar in the fight against COVID-19. Our response efforts align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Maryland Department of Health, and the Washington D.C. Health Department. We are also in close contact with Maryland and District of Columbia officials, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Underlying every one of these efforts is our commitment to the highest levels of quality and safety showcased through:
- Ensuring and reinforcing proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) use
- Implementing patient isolation precautions
- Practicing proper infection control and disinfection measures
- Adhering to standardized, CDC-guided hospital and ambulatory patient workflows
- Tracking and maintaining critical supplies
To reduce the impact of COVID-19 disruption across the system, MedStar Health established a COVID-19 Surge Decompression Taskforce, daily COVID-19 System Response and Operational Coordination calls, and patient screening and triage process guidelines for all care locations.
Our Distributed Care Delivery Network is among our greatest advantages in this moment. Examples of our “system-ness” in action include screening more than 500 patients per day through MedStar eVisits and becoming the largest single “entity” in terms of volume across our system – creating the benefit of reducing patient surge in our urgent cares and EDs. These efforts specifically include:
- Screening, testing, and treating patients at MedStar Health Urgent Care
- Triaging and treating severely ill patients in our Emergency Departments (EDs)
- Launching telephonic outreach, replacing in-person visits with telephone visits
- Standing up triage tents at hospitals to reduce ED and urgent care traffic
- Expanding testing capabilities at entities and establishing regional testing centers
This high-level review of how Medstar Health has found success in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic can be broken down into a much finer focus, point-by-point. Interested in learning more about a particular facet I mentioned above? Please send your questions to ACPAdvisorsSocialMedia@gmail.com and I will explain more!