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Patient Privacy

Interoperability and EHR Optimization

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Solve New COVID-19 Challenges with Existing Technology

Written by Rich Murphy, Product Director - iatricSystems

Privacy Blog Post- Updates to your Patient Privacy Application - Blog header August 2020

A recent COVID-19 outbreak occurred at a Springfield MA hospital due to an employee returning to work after visiting another state, increasing the hospital’s infected rate to 26 employees and 14 patients.

This hospital is not alone. It’s evident that COVID-19 has put a significant strain on hospital employees and patient relationships because of the many unknowns.

Before COVID-19, you didn’t have to track daily interactions down to a handshake – metaphorically, that is, we all know to keep our hands to ourselves these days!

But hospitals are recognizing the reality of today. Baystate Health President and CEO Dr. Mark Keroack spoke of their recent outbreak stating, “You hate to be the cautionary tale, but in fact, I hope what everyone could learn from this is that nobody should think ever that there is any kind of place where people congregate where this virus couldn’t be passed around.”

In a time where hospitals are facing unprecedented challenges – with already set budgets – they’re looking for defined answers within their existing technology.

We hope to inspire you to look at your existing technology from a different angle to see if there are ways you can resolve some of the challenges of dealing with COVID-19.

For example, here are a few ways hospitals are currently using our privacy solution to solve COVID-19 challenges.

We have hospital sites that utilize two files daily – one reflects positive hospital employees and one reflects positive patients. Access between the two roles is flagged to help identify if a user may have gotten COVID-19 from being in a COVID-19 positive patient’s room.

Similarly to above, hospital sites can supply us with a daily file with MRN and COVID-19 statuses, and we’ll then flag audits of who accessed those patients.

Lab results can also be tracked to determine what makes a patient positive. From there, audits are flagged for those patients without the hospital having to provide a list. This scenario would only include the patients that have been tested within the hospital's lab, and outside patient status may not be recorded. But this gives the hospitals a good idea of where to start.

Hospitals not only need to keep track of patients’ statuses but also that of their clinicians. If a clinician comes down with COVID-19 and it’s determined that they were working for a period of time while they may have had it, they can use our privacy tool to look back and see which patients they may have come into contact with and then notify them to get tested.

While we’re not out of the woods in terms of overcoming this pandemic, we’re learning more every day. New challenges will continue to pop up, but what we’ve seen in our industry regarding the ability to adapt and keep the patient needs first is incredible.

It’s people and organizations coming together to share information and thinking outside of the box to overcome obstacles and just make the day-to-day a little easier. We’ve said it before, but we can’t say it enough – thank you to all our healthcare heroes.

If you need support or help brainstorming on how to leverage your privacy solutions to overcome COVID-19 challenges, contact us at info@iatric.com.

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Topics: patient privacy, patient privacy monitoring, Healthcare IT, covid-19

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