by Dave Bennett, CISM
Memorial Day 2020 will not be remembered so much as the traditional start of summer as it will signify when most of the country began to ease restrictions after the initial wave of COVID-19 shut down the country. Practices are beginning to see more patients in their offices and hospitals are starting to schedule elective surgeries. We will be experiencing a gradual re-opening; settling into the “new normal” – following disparate paths along the way and hoping we can do it without sparking another outbreak and subsequent shutdown.
At pCare, we are committed to helping providers, patients, and families navigate this new terrain. And while we know the experience in metro New York is not going to be the same as in New Mexico which will be different from what is happening in Wisconsin, there will be some common experiences:
- Some level of social distancing is going to continue for the foreseeable future. This will impact the healthcare experience – from the office waiting room environment to more stringent hospital visitation policies.
- Wearing masks, a patient and provider may not have full view of each other’s faces. This impacts interpersonal communications.
- Telehealth will not just expand in usage but evolve in how it is utilized. I see it as a gateway to more advanced remote patient monitoring and digital patient engagement.
- Fragmented care will no longer be acceptable. The physician, the lab, the pharmacy, and the hospital will be expected to be on the same page and effectively managing patient care and limited resources.
Now more than ever, it’s critical to have cohesion across the continuum. By leveraging an open platform approach with the ability to connect our applications with other health information technologies across the patient engagement ecosystem, pCare is positioned to facilitate a seamless, coordinated experience across all patient touchpoints. For example, we are currently working with our partner Quil Health to develop a COVID-19 CareFlow Journey that will span the inpatient admission through discharge and at-home recovery by integrating the pCare Interactive Patient System with the Quil Digital Health Platform. Quil already has released a COVID-19 Preparedness Journey that has been utilized by over 11,000 consumers. The pCare-Quil combined solution will guide patients diagnosed with COVID-19 through the steps they need to follow in order to recover from the virus while efficiently and effectively sharing information across care teams.
As we start to re-engage broadly, there is a lot of uncertainty. But one thing we have learned over the past couple of months is that people are ready to engage in their healthcare in new and different ways; will do what is necessary to keep themselves, loved ones, and their communities healthy when provided with information and tools that they can understand and access. At the end of the day, our goal is to help facilitate the collaboration among patients, families, and providers that define impactful engagement that drive best outcomes and experience for all stakeholders.
There will be difficulties as we emerge from the shutdown. This Memorial Day weekend will have special significance as I take the time to reflect on sacrifices made by so many over the past few months and recharge my batteries for what lies ahead. I wish you all a safe and enjoyable weekend.