Becker's Hospital Review

August 2021 Issue of Becker's Hospital Review

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Page 43 of 95

44 Executive Briefing Sponsored by: I n the healthcare sector, resilience is a top priority. Even before COVID-19 arrived, health systems had started to invest in technology to support emergency preparedness, as well as to respond to the needs of the populations they serve. The pandemic, however, has offered new insights about the importance and difficulties of achieving healthcare resilience. Becker's Hospital Review recently spoke with Eric Chetwynd, general manager of healthcare solutions at Everbridge, about the future of health system resilience in the post-COVID-19 era. Open hospital campuses are a thing of the past In early 2020, most hospitals rapidly restricted access to their campuses and installed screening checkpoints. Although COVID-19-related restrictions are now being lifted, healthcare security leaders nationwide are reconsidering the traditional open-campus model. Many organizations intend to continue using access policies instituted during the pandemic. A more resilient hospital means understanding who is on campus. It's not just about keeping people out; it's also about knowing who is on site and how to provide a better shield of protection and emergency preparedness around those people. With a completely open campus, it's hard to manage evacuations and other safety measures during an emergency. In addition to external events, workplace violence is an unfortunate reality that healthcare leaders can't ignore. The National Crime Victimization Survey suggests that healthcare workers have a 20 percent higher chance of being the victim of workplace violence than other workers. In April of this year, the United States House of Representatives passed the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, which focuses on mandating workplace violence standards, as well as programs to prevent workplace violence from occurring. The patient experience and employee security now extend beyond the hospital's walls The impact of COVID-19 goes beyond open hospital campuses. It has also redefined the patient experience. Touchless healthcare experiences are now a reality. Patients and hospital visitors can minimize their interaction with facilities, while still receiving the care and information they need. Helpful technologies include visitor management systems that enable rapid management of people entering the campus, as well as digital wayfinding solutions and systems that manage where people are going. "Hospitals are looking at technologies to limit access, while simultaneously providing a positive patient or visitor experience for those who are on site," Mr. Chetwynd said. "I think there will be a continued interest and investment in solutions that support these goals. [The Federal Emergency Management Agency], for example, has doubled the amount of grant funding for nonprofit organizations — including hospitals — for programs like this." When it comes to risk, health systems have traditionally focused on events that happen within the walls of the campus. Although hospitals have visibility into inbound patient traffic from ambulance services, many leaders hadn't thought about management of outside security events and crises. The pandemic, however, has changed that. "What we saw coming out of COVID-19 was increased awareness about risk events that occur outside the four walls of the hospital," Mr. Chetwynd said "Healthcare security leaders are now looking more closely at events happening around them like civil unrest and situations that affect whole regions like the weather. Circumstances outside of healthcare systems can affect whether patients can get to campus for appointments, as well as whether ambulances can arrive at emergency rooms." Another important trend coming out of the pandemic is the rise in telehealth and more distributed care. Widespread adoption of telehealth solutions is causing health systems to rethink how they deliver care. "We've heard from multiple systems that before COVID-19, they provided 5 percent to 10 percent of their care remotely or via telehealth," Mr. Chetwynd said. "Now they expect 20 percent to 50 percent of their encounters to happen that way." There has also been a significant increase in home health programs. Since CMS issued waivers last year that allow providers to deliver acute care in the home setting, the number of patients discharged from the hospital to home has grown significantly. As a result, more nursing staff is now out in the field providing care to patients in the community. New distributed care models coincide with the need to provide a safe work environment for employees. In response, health systems are considering how to extend their duty of care and protective envelope for staff. Many Why technology is a resilience-enabler for today's distributed healthcare models

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