Understand how we got here — and how to move forward.


January 6, 2022

To boost your capacity during an omicron surge, start here

Daily Briefing

    The omicron Covid-19 surge is placing extraordinary strain on health care organizations, even compared to other surges we've seen over the past two years. The daily average of new Covid-19 cases entering 2022 surpassed 400,000 for the first time in the pandemic, driven by a combination of the omicron and delta variants. Hospitalizations are rising too, hitting hospitals already strained by staff shortages.

    Now, more than ever, organizations are facing immense staffing shortage challenges, overwhelmed intensive care units, and moral fatigue—all while navigating unclear messaging. With access to contract labor increasingly limited, clinical leadership teams are evaluating all options to sustain operations while responding to continued Covid-19 pressures.

    Listed below are Advisory Board resources that we have inventoried or developed throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to assist with maximizing operational capacity. Many of these resources have been available through our platform for some time now. However, in the presence of the omicron surge, we dove deep into the resources to ensure they are still applicable and helpful.

    For ease of use, we have pulled everything together into one list for you and your teams to review. Beyond many examples of interdisciplinary staffing models, emotional support, HR policies, and cross-site floating strategies, we have also included several resources regarding how to offload acute care volumes through partnerships with post-acute and expanded telehealth. 

    We will continue to highlight more strategies as we learn more. In the meantime, please feel free to email us at with questions or suggestions.

    Adopt staffing models to increase acute care capacity

    Several hospitals have adopted new care models that scale key expertise to increase Covid-19 acute capacity.

    Leverage post-acute operations to increase acute care capacity

    Rethink your post-acute care strategy to safely and effectively discharge inpatients and create acute care capacity.

    See examples of how UW MedicineOchsner HealthSpaulding Hospital Cambridge, and WellSpan Health leveraged—and in some cases created—post-acute care to meet surge demand.

    Support staff well-being

    Frontline staff are being pushed to the physical and emotional brink, including: working longer hours under more strenuous conditions, cross training and caring for patients in new ways, and dealing with an increasing concern for safety. Organizations must double down on support for staff, particularly during this omicron surge.

    Leverage telehealth to avoid unnecessary care utilization

    Throughout the epidemic, telehealth has enabled providers to create capacity and ensure continuity of care for non-emergent patients, while providing a high-quality patient experience.

    Parting thoughts

    The recent month has felt like déjà vu. Many people around the country and world are sharing some collective anxiety. So if you feel overwhelmed by the current Covid-19 surge, think about how large our toolbox has grown over the past two years. We've come a long way—together. 

    We hope the resources included in this document can provide some help to you and your organization. Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions at As always, we are here to help.

    Access our resources to kickstart workforce recovery

    ImageLooking for help to support employees' emotional well-being, help clinicians navigate moral distress, or hone your own leadership shadow? Explore our starter list of resources below.

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