May 27, 2020
Organizations are learning more about COVID-19 every day, so protocols, practices and guidelines change frequently. We asked leaders in different settings to share their approaches to making decisions and disseminating information in this fast-paced environment.

Kimi Kobayashi, M.D., notes that speed and flexibility are built into the workflow of the COVID-19 Clinical Care Council, an interdisciplinary group UMass Memorial Medical Center established to generate guidance during the pandemic.

Randi Berkowitz, M.D. , relies on a variety of partners, including a statewide league of community health centers and the Department of Public Health, for information sharing and problem solving.

Kim Hollon details how Signature Healthcare has stepped up its schedule of safety huddles, process for reviewing new developments, and updates to online resources.

The organizers of Risky Business , a unique patient safety conference that draws lessons for health care from a variety of other high-risk industries and endeavors, will host a 3-hour virtual event next Tuesday from London to talk about the intersection of science, medicine, technology and people in the safe delivery of care during the pandemic. Topics include cybersecurity, the changing nature of the doctor-patient relationship, modelling the virus, and the science of wellbeing. Speakers from the Imperial College of London, Zoom, British Airways, the Medical Protection Society, Formula One and more will be followed by remarks from Don Berwick of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement speaking about what health care may look like after COVID-19.

This complementary event is an opportunity to experience Risky Business’s unique approach to talking and learning about patient safety. Next spring, Boston will be the host city for a 1-day Risky Business conference organized by the Betsy Lehman Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, CRICO and other partners. The date for next year’s conference in Boston will be announced shortly!

Home care workers are a critical resource for tens of thousands of people in Massachusetts who need help meeting their personal and health care needs, from bathing and dressing to medication management. Because workers travel from residence to residence, their skill and knowledge about infection control can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus from one household to another, including their own.

The Safe Home Care and Sustainable Hospitals Program at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell offers eight fact sheets for home care workers that cover topics ranging from personal protective equipment guidelines to disinfecting techniques and answers about chemical ingredients. The information is presented with graphics, tables and question/answer formats tailored to the home care community.

For many with kidney disease, the pandemic adds a layer of complexity to the challenges of managing a healthy diet, regular dialysis, medication and more. In a virtual town hall last week, co-hosted by the American Kidney Fund, IPRO and the Betsy Lehman Center , four speakers offered information to help people navigate their logistics and concerns during the pandemic.

Daniel Weiner, M.D., a nephrologist at Tufts Medical Center described ways to stay safe in the community and during dialysis visits. Jim Reid, R.N., and M.J. Valerio, R.N., from Dialysis Clinics Inc., described extra steps clinics are taking to ensure safety and talked about resources dialysis patients can access from home, including dieticians, social workers and help with medication management.

David Walsh, a chemical engineer technologist from Woburn who received a kidney transplant in February, shared his experiences. Being a kidney patient during the pandemic is challenging, he said, but offered words of encouragement: “Stick with it, and you’ll be all the better for it.”

Funding and online learning
>> National COVID-19 nursing home huddle.  The Institute for Healthcare Improvement offers a daily 20-minute virtual huddle for nursing homes to share practical solutions to PPE shortages, staffing, hospital-to-nursing home transfers and other issues.   Click here to register. 

>> Novel, high-impact studies evaluating health system and healthcare professional responsiveness to COVID-19 : The federal Agency for Health Research and Quality is offering $5 million of new funding for health services research related to COVID-19. Applications are due June 15. View the funding announcement here.

Thank you, readers, for generously sharing stories about ways you are not just coping with COVID-19, but adapting and improving work along the way. We’d love to share even more of them in this newsletter. Please  let us know  about how your organization is managing challenges presented by the pandemic.