October 30, 2020

4 actions to take before the next Covid-19 surge (and resources to help)

Daily Briefing

    When the first wave of Covid-19 cases arrived in the United States hospitals and health systems had to pivot to ensure they had the staff and supplies needed to treat the new disease. But as fast and intense as the first wave arrived, most models show cases are likely to rise again as the United States heads into colder temperatures. In fact, on Thursday, U.S. officials reported more than 90,000 new cases of the virus in a single day, breaking the country's previous single-day record of more than 85,000 new cases on Oct. 23.

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    While the United States' original wave began on the coasts and worked its way in, this time around surges are happening throughout the country: 32 states have relatively high daily average caseloads (at least 15 cases per 100,000 people). Whether this fall is bringing your second or third wave of Covid-19 patients, now is the time to prepare for the next surge.

    To help, we've outlined four key priorities for clinical executives, and a roundup of resources to help you navigate your next surge. 

    1. Know when the next surge is coming—and plan for it. 

    Ten months into the novel coronavirus public health emergency hospitals are better equipped to anticipate outbreaks by tracking leading clinical, business, social, and mobility indicators correlated with a future surge.

    Here are some of our top resources to help you predict the next wave of Covid-19 patients and model potential volume and revenue loses as a result: 

    2. Prepare to flex your clinical and operational teams to meet new demand.

    The biggest takeaway from the initial surge is that things accelerate—fast. Proactively ensuring you have enough beds and staff to safely treat an influx of Covid-19 patients and an infrastructure to care for non-Covid patients (either virtually or in-person) must remain a key priority in your preparedness plans.

    Here are some of our top resources for capacity management:

    See examples of how Baylor Scott & White Health, Gundersen, Montefiore, and Polyclinic redeployed staff to meet surge demand.

    3. Continue to prioritize staff well-being and resilience.

    Frontline health care workers are still feeling the impact from the first Covid-19 surge—and they are going to bear the brunt of the subsequent waves. Clinical executives must continue prioritize the support of frontline workers through resiliency programs and emergency staff plans.  

    Here are some of our top resources to support staff:  

    4. Keep the lines of communication open

    Th ever-evolving guidelines and state orders regarding the pandemic means clear, consistent communication with all stakeholders—including staff, patients, and the broader community—should continue to be a top priority as hospitals navigate future surges.

    Here are some of our top resources for effective communication with staff, patients, and your community:

    As you continue to navigate the challenging months ahead, we recommend taking time (as you can) to re-center yourself and your team. For guidance as you continue to lead through this crisis, we recommend tuning into our Radio Advisory podcast leadership series.

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