Senior Executive Officer of Non-Acute Services for the West Florida Division, John Johannessen, recently discussed the ways AdventHealth is utilizing technology to navigate patient quality and service issues during the COVID-19 pandemic at a virtual innovation summit. Johannessen joined other hospital and financial leaders across Tampa Bay to share innovative ideas and processes in these unprecedented times on a panel called Crisis Breeds Opportunity.
“The biggest lesson here is that innovation isn’t always about technology and equipment; sometimes it’s as simple as a new way of thinking or trying something you haven’t done before,” said Johannessen. “While we did make immediate investments into the most advanced machines, medicines and methods possible, we also encouraged our teams to truly innovate and create new ways of caring for our community.”
AdventHealth is nationally recognized for safety, so it was already a priority when the pandemic hit. In addition, AdventHealth West Florida Division has been recognized for two consecutive years as the safest hospitals in Tampa Bay.
Creating the Safe Place for Care
Our teams were prepared to put new protocols in place that added measures of cleanliness and amplified key processes we already had in place.
- The basic steps included: limiting visitors, taking temperatures and reducing the number of patients in waiting rooms.
- Additional steps required innovation: scanners that take temperatures as you walk through; robots that emit UV light to clean patient rooms, ambulances and even personal protective equipment; aerosols that at attach to any surface to eradicate the virus; and foot sanitizers that also use UV light to kill the virus on the soles of your shoes.
“We implemented the foot sanitizers on our campus in 2019 in order to decrease the number of potential viruses coming through our doors. The technology combines ozone and ultraviolet rays to eliminate these germs. The timing turned out to be impeccable because this technology eliminates corona virus and we already had it ready to go. Team members and visitors utilize the sanitizers both on the way in and on the way out to help keep everyone safe.”
-Debi Martoccio, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of AdventHealth Connerton
Caring for the Community
AdventHealth’s focus on caring for the community and our team members provides the foundation for how we prioritize safety, which is expressed in our service standards. Because of the pandemic’s impact on the community, we continue to educate the public on safe practices like mask wearing, hand washing and continued social distancing.
It’s also important to help people feel safe in our care and encourage them not to put off getting care. That’s where technology comes in.
- We’ve made significant investments into fine tuning telemedicine and video visits.
- We offer online registration, so patients aren’t filling out paperwork inside the physician’s office.
- We have online reservations for our emergency rooms for those who don’t need life threatening care, so they aren’t waiting to be seen when they arrive.
To meet people where they are right now, which for a lot of our consumers is sheltering at home, we have a program that sends dedicated caregivers to the homes of some of our highest risk patients. Those caregivers are using iPads to track patient care and they even walk the patients through setting up video visits through Vivify and Google duo when a caregiver isn’t in the home.
One of the ways AdventHealth helps meet people where they are right now is by focusing on whole person care once a patient is discharged. For example, our care teams were able to help a COVID-19 patient without insurance obtain the follow-up care she needed. When the woman was discharged from AdventHealth, she struggled to find a doctor that would follow up with her care. By connecting the patient with local health department resources, the care team secured her a telemedicine appointment, prescription discount card and food for her family while she recovered.
Looking to the Future
While the future impact of COVID-19 remains to be seen, the pandemic has certainly reshaped how hospitals operate. The innovations activated during COVID-19 help consumers take greater control over their care. “People are able to decide how they want to get care and they can do it on their timeline,” said Johannesen. “We’re harkening back to the days of essentially having the doctor make house calls.”
These technologies add a layer of innovation to make sure patients are appropriately cared for whether they visit one of our hospitals, any of our physician practices or from the comfort of their own homes.
Click here to watch the official launch conference of Invest: Tampa 2020, hosted by Capital Analytics, in its entirety.