By Tara Gibson - September 15, 2020
Healthcare facilities across the world have been overwhelmed with the ongoing public health crisis; the coronavirus. While some healthcare organizations have leveraged existing technologies – or have invested in new technologies – to help them better streamline daily COVID-19 employee health checks, mass communications, and shift filling, others have stuck to the older methods which, unfortunately, have been proven not to be the most efficient option.
In some parts of the United States, the virus is surging, which is putting health care professionals in hospitals, nursing homes, emergency services, urgent care clinics, and more, in harm’s way of contracting COVID-19. Although the risks are high, workers in the healthcare field have put their worries aside and have committed to helping sick individuals across the country.
As of this writing, more than 1070 front-line health care workers have died of COVID-19, according to Kaiser Health News (KHN). An interactive database was recently unveiled by the Guardian and KHN, which is tracking, verifying, and memorializing every U.S. health care worker who dies during the pandemic.
They’ve named this program “Lost on the Frontline” and through crowdsourcing, reports through colleagues, social media, online obituaries, workers unions, and local media, Lost on the Frontline reporters have collected data on those who have reportedly lost their lives to COVID-19 and its complications. The tally of those who have lost their lives includes doctors, nurses, and paramedics, as well as crucial support staff such as hospital custodians, administrators, and nursing home workers
Unfortunately, as coronavirus cases surge, many healthcare facilities are still struggling with limited lifesaving protective gear such as N95 masks, face shields, gowns, and gloves. According to Occupational Health and Safety, nurses are reusing N95 masks for days or even weeks. Some doctors are not opening their offices due to these PPE shortages, with experts concerned that this scenario will get worse.
An analysis of information from the U.K. and the U.S. also found that frontline health care workers have a nearly 12-times higher risk of testing positive for COVID-19 and put their family and friends at risk when returning home after long, grueling shifts.
Healthcare organizations are responsible for the safety of their employees, which is why it’s crucial to put certain measures in place to protect health care workers.
One thing healthcare organizations have done to help protect their employees and streamline operations is by leveraging technology tools for daily employee COVID-19 health screenings, filling shifts, and sharing important information.
A mass notification solution has proven extremely helpful for all these things, and we’ll share how.
Amid the pandemic, organizations have been working to streamline their daily employee COVID-19 health checks. A mass notification solution with polling capabilities can make this easier for healthcare facilities. Administrators can create a polling link that is sent out to health care workers on a predetermined schedule or can set up a geofenced area that will send the link automatically when an employee enters the area, such as the facility parking lot.
The polling link contains a questionnaire, which workers would fill out on their mobile devices before entering the facility. For example, the poll sent out could look like this:
Q: Please indicate whether you have any COVID-19 related symptoms, such as:
A1: Yes, I have COVID-19 related symptoms.
A2: No, I am symptom-free.
Employees would select the multiple-choice answer and depending on their response they would receive an automated follow-up message. If a worker was experiencing any of the symptoms, they would receive an automated message telling them not to come into work that day. If a worker responded that they were not experiencing any symptoms, they would receive a message allowing them to come into work.
Staffing shortages have often been a concern in the healthcare field, but with the coronavirus, these shortages have become more of a problem. Workers have fallen ill, been stuck in quarantine, or have left positions due to fear of contracting the virus.
A mass notification system - again - allows administrators to send out polls to fill any vacant shifts. For example, the message could read:
Q: We need coverage for 9/10 from 11 am – 6 pm. Please let us know if you can cover this shift.
A1: Yes, I am available.
A2: No, I am not available.
The below video breaks down exactly how this automated staffing module works:
The COVID-19 landscape changes frequently, which is why connecting and communicating with healthcare staff is crucial. If employees are left in the dark, there could be severe repercussions. A mass notification solution allows users to regularly update employees about new procedures in the workplace, mental health resources, and important timely messaging such as office closures or travel bans.
Tara is a Marketing Coordinator on the Rave Mobile Safety marketing team. She loves writing about all things K-12, State & Local, Higher Ed, Corporate, and Healthcare, and manages the Rave social media channels. When she's not working, she's taking care of her smiley, shoe eating, Instagram-famous fur baby, Enzo!
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