5 Key Insights into Delivering Healthcare During COVID-19
The world is experiencing another surge in COVID-19 cases, with the highly contagious Delta variant becoming the dominant strain in the U.S. Healthcare providers can prepare for this new surge by reviewing key insights and best practices resulting from the initial response to the pandemic in 2020.
COVID-19: What We Have Learned So Far
1. Best practices are evolving.
During the early stages of the spread of COVID-19, many providers faced challenges in delivering care that they had not previously experienced. Data from that period have since offered valuable insight into best practices that can be followed as cases rise again. The 2020 ESO EMS Index: COVID-19 Special Edition translates data into actionable best practices for EMS agencies.
2. Bidirectional data sharing is crucial.
Data have played a vital role in understanding COVID-19. Over time, EMS data have helped identify and refine the symptoms of the virus, and sharing these data has enabled hospitals to develop and refine their COVID-19 response plans. Likewise, it is important for hospitals to share information like outcomes and potential exposures with EMS agencies to ensure first responders are making contact with patients in the safest way possible.
3. Effective PPE management is key to keeping providers safe.
The initial COVID-19 surge left many healthcare providers short on vital medical supplies, forcing some healthcare providers to reuse essential safety equipment like N-95 respirators. While supply shortages have seemingly leveled out, providers can be prepared with effective inventory management. ESO has announced new inventory management software designed to help EMS agencies manage supplies so they can focus on keeping the community safe while ensuring the safety of their essential healthcare providers.
4. Telehealth is a necessary healthcare delivery tool.
The initial surge of COVID-19 led to a significant increase in the use of telehealth and telemedicine to deliver healthcare, from treatment of COVID-19 symptoms to routine preventive care. While patients should still see their provider in-person for some issues, there are several different ways providers can also offer care in a virtual setting. Providers who do not already offer a virtual care method should explore available options.
5. The impact of COVID-19 is not limited to the virus itself.
In the time since the pandemic began, data show that mental health issues have become more prevalent, EMS agencies have seen a rise in calls related to opioid overdoses, and burnout in healthcare has become increasingly common. Providers need to monitor both their patients and themselves for concerns beyond physical well-being that can affect the overall health of a community.
For more COVID-19 data for healthcare professionals, visit the ESO COVID-19 Resource Center, updated weekly.