SAE Issue Brief: Disrupt the Disruption | Care Innovations during COVID-19

SAE offers insights on care innovations and forward-leaning critical analysis of elements that impact access to care as providers shift services during COVID-19. With ongoing concerns for containing infections and lowering morbidity rates, SAE supports care innovations to maintain positive momentum for recovery and to improve emotional resiliency. As the nation strategizes on re-opening protocols, providers must now take into account their organizational responsiveness to these moving parts. As with all unexpected disruptions, providers can use this as an opportunity to create change and move to the forefront of thoughtful innovation. Providers can create services that combat COVID-19 disruptions. In our recent Issue Brief: “Operational Considerations during the Coronavirus Pandemic”, we highlight organizational elements that shape critical responsiveness to this national emergency: Leadership; Triaging New Services and Business Activities; Screening and Protocol Development; Communication, Education and Training; and Data Integration and Security. Prioritizing these elements would equip you with the capacity to improve care access while addressing social determinants during COVID-19. Leadership provides direction and clarity, particularly during times of change and distress. It requires being quickly responsive to attend to internal and external needs. Thankfully, this does not need to be off-loaded to one person. In fact, leadership that is shared by a team could be reflective of the wide-ranging expertise required during emergencies. Leadership building requires a careful selection of team members. Each team member should be ready to contribute to the team’s:

  • accountability,
  • benchmarking of activities,
  • supportive decision-making,
  • continuous information-gathering across organizational functions,
  • maintenance of communication pathways,
  • messaging of safeguards,
  • organizational collaboration to improve departmental cohesiveness,
  • security and risk mitigation activities, and
  • operational monitoring for risks or breaches to facilitate anticipatory changes.

Provider organizations must develop insightful care innovations to assist communities that experience high stressors due to certain social determinants. For example, while social distancing has demonstrated its effectiveness in lowering infection rates, certain ethnic communities in certain locales have a higher infection and mortality risk. Initial studies and calls for review of this epidemiological phenomena point to social determinants that exist for ethnic communities, particularly African American and Latinx communities. To unpack these critical population health variables, leaders in innovation may look to their internal data system to aggregate for risk indicators, such as comorbidity, that are connected to certain social determinants for these community members. Providers may require new data reports from their information technology (IT) department or data vendor. These can be developed with on-demand report features to facilitate more intensive care coordination and integrated care follow-ups. Providers may also turn to their IT staff to 1) develop coding logic for monitoring post-release COVID-19 patients and 2) develop clinical indicators to include self-reports of symptom resurgence. 

The time is now for leadership to step up and welcome change. 

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