The COVID-19 pandemic placed an unprecedented amount of stress on systems across all sectors, but no industry was tested more than healthcare. Once the U.S. government declared a national emergency, all non-essential procedures were halted. Although the number of critical care patients increased, the number of patients undergoing elective procedures decreased causing hospitals and provider groups to experience financial hardship. Meanwhile, the circumstances called for some adaptation on the part of staff members. Facilities called in clinicians across all disciplines to help care for COVID-19 patients.
The ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks and response forced hospitals and providers to deal with a unique set of challenges. Hospitals saw their resources stretched to the limit. The pandemic proved to hospitals that they needed to change their approach to both staffing and delivering care.
- There are four significant elements of this new rapid-response approach hospitals should have in place:
- The ability to have rapid-response clinicians deployed to areas that undergo a surge
- A care model that allows providers to expand their subject-matter expert base with well-versed clinicians
- Telehealth capabilities that enable providers to connect with patients in a way that mitigates risk while limiting the need for personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Additional support for clinicians in the form of mental health/wellness resources
Rapid-response clinician deployments
Hospitals need a way to quickly connect with clinicians to provide care when surge support is necessary. So how is this done? By identifying cost-effective procedures to route providers (clinicians, specifically) and resources where and when they’re most needed.
It’s difficult to ask a facility already under stress to also manage the process of staffing during outbreaks or disasters. That’s why it helps to partner with a staffing provider with a rapid-response staffing capability. VISTA offers rapid-response staffing solutions that allow facilities to bolster their recruitment in any specialty with over 50 recruiters ready to deploy high-quality advanced practice physicians to any location.
New care team models
Providers must also reassess their care models better to meet their patients’ needs during a disaster. One silver lining coming out of the COVID-19 response is that it tested health systems’ capabilities as they attempted to fill roles on the fly. They can do this by implementing new care team models that incorporate a team member known as an intensivist.
Here’s how it works: providers who have experience and training in traditional practice can provide assistance and support in other areas of medicines under the watchful eye of a board-certified physician called an intensivist. An intensivist serves in the intensive care unit and helps physicians such as anesthesiologists, registered nurse assistants, and emergency medicine clinicians adapt to new positions within the ICU. While it’s borne out of necessity in this circumstance, it’s a much-needed rethinking of the traditional care model.
VISTA can help you fill your new care team. We have access to physicians and providers in various disciplines that are highly skilled, qualified, and adaptable.
Tapping into telehealth technology
More and more healthcare providers were leaning into telehealth services as part of their patient care suite. COVID-19 only hastened the development. According to the American Hospital Association, before the pandemic, 76% of hospitals connected with patients using telehealth services. That number has only gone up over the past year. COVID-19 made it dangerous for patients and providers to be in the same room, making access to telehealth a necessity in some cases. But virtual health is more than just a solution for a pandemic.
Telehealth increases a facility’s ability to connect with people in rural and urban areas where they otherwise may not have access to the same level of care. It’s also an equalizer for people who have a more challenging time accessing transportation.
Virtual health solutions help better connect doctors and patients. They allow doctors to make house calls without leaving the comfort of their office, enabling patients to remain in the comfort of their own homes. It paves the way for more convenient consultations.
As the world continues to adopt a more remote posture, telehealth will play a pivotal role in providing more patients with high-quality care. When disasters occur, it will help patients and providers overcome obstacles related to distance. Even when surge support isn’t required, there’s plenty of utility in relying on virtual health solutions to improve the overall patient experience.
Advanced mental health and wellness resources for clinicians
Finally, it will be critical for clinicians to have access to mental health and wellness resources, especially after they’ve been rapidly deployed. Caring for COVID-19 patients comes with plenty of built-in stressors. For one, there’s the stress of treating a patient with a novel coronavirus that still has many variables associated with it. Providers also have to feel pressure over whether they may also contract the disease. There’s also the mental strain of providing continuing care to patients who may not respond well to COVID.
VISTA has a robust set of practices and programs they can implement to help support better physical, emotional, and mental health among medical groups. It’s easy to overlook this critical aspect of the healthcare experience, but assisting clinicians to manage their mental health and wellness is essential to keeping them safe and healthy.
How to use rapid response recruitment to level up your pandemic response
The pandemic has proven that rapid response deployment is the solution for healthcare facilities responding to a pandemic or disaster. By proactively adopting new care models, leaning into forward-thinking innovations like telehealth, and considering the mental health needs of their clinicians, healthcare systems are better equipped to provide continuity of care.
When your facility needs qualified staff the most, you’ll want to have a plan in place to quickly get them where they need to be: caring for your patients. VISTA’s rapid-response recruitment can identify clinicians with the right skills to help you in short order. VISTA has dedicated healthcare staffing resources with no minimum request. To learn more about our rapid response recruitment solution, visit our website.