Coronavirus: Health Care Administration During a Pandemic
Written by Joshua Kleinstreuer
IN A NUTSHELL:
- Health care systems worldwide seeing supply shortage
- Hospitals will need to temporarily increase capacity
- Maintaining administrative workflow during a pandemic is vital
In the past few weeks, we’ve seen the additional stress put on health care systems worldwide responding to the coronavirus pandemic, ranging from overloaded emergency rooms to shortages of protective gear such as N95 respirators. This can be frustrating for providers and caregivers on how to best treat and protect their patients, as well as other care team members and themselves.
The Food And Drug Administration (FDA) describes N95 respirators, and other types of protective gear as “examples of personal protective equipment (PPE) that are used to protect the wearer from airborne particles and from liquid contaminating the face.” Several federal agencies including The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulate N95 respirators.
Personal protective equipment is crucial for health care workers to protect themselves during a pandemic.
Possible Supply Shortage
There is an existing concern about whether or not the coronavirus pandemic will disrupt the global supply chain for production and distribution of PPE. The pandemic is putting an increasing amount of demand on an overburdened health care system—resulting in an overwhelming number of patients that exceed the capacity of of hospitals, emergency departments, and outpatient centers.
This results in critical shortages of staffing, space, and supplies which can have a negative impact on patient outcomes, according to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM).
Government and health officials have stated that hospitals will need to temporarily increase capacity as the extent of services needed to treat patients affected by the Coronavirus Disease is putting pressure on already-limited resources.
Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health conducted a study at the end of February on how hospitals should prepare for an on-going treatment of patients due to the coronavirus pandemic. The study found that there are currently about 46,500 medical intensive care unit (ICU) beds in the United States and an equal number of other ICU beds that could be used in the event of a crisis.
This brings the total number of ICU beds to less than 95,000; which the authors noted is of serious concern:
“Even spread out over several months, the mismatch between demand and resources is clear…Decision makers at all levels—including hospital CEOs and their boards and state and federal officials—should consider these issues and how to proceed. Several of the first priority items (comprehensive and collaborative planning, discussing allocation of scarce resources, and planning education and training).”
At the beginning of March, European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM) members who were coordinating the response in northern Italy, wrote in a letter that hospitals in the area are seeing a high number of ICU admissions, due to respiratory failure that requires ventilation. About 10 percent of all patients who’ve tested positive for the virus were admitted to ICUs.
In the event the coronavirus spreads in the United States to the same extent as it has in Italy, hospitals will be overrun due to a lack of space. The structure of the health care system in the U.S. is built for efficiency with a focus on community. This has entailed reducing the number of hospital beds in order to provide alternative services that keep patients out of the hospital. Based on the recommendations from members of the ECISM, hospitals in the United States will likely see a sharp increase in the need for N95 respirators and ICU beds, which will require not only an increase of health care providers to care for the patients, but an escalation of administrative work as well as staffing to complete it.
In addition to supplies for health care facilities, maintaining the administrative workflow during a pandemic is vital. Allocating resources during an increase in demand is critical to keeping operations running for patients. This can be very time-intensive for health care workers and create a tremendous administrative burden.
An Institute of Medicine study found the United States wastes half of the estimated $361 billion a year it spends on health care administration. That amount is more than twice the nation’s total spending on heart disease and three times its spending on cancer.
Some of the critical responsibilities of health care administration during a crisis such as a pandemic include human resources management, maintenance functions of the organization, serving as intermediaries for the various professional groups practicing within the facility, and credentialing—the last of which is vital to complete swiftly in times of greater need. However, with traditional methods credentialing, this is not a quick or easy procedure. Both physicians and facility staff spend a combined 20+ hours per week submitting and verifying credentialing documents. Any errors, missing forms, or slow replies to primary source verification requests can add weeks or even months to the process. All of the time spent on credentialing is precious time that could be spent caring for patients.
There is no need for a step-by-step process to individually verify the more than 20 documents needed to complete the credentialing process and ensure licenses and education, liability claims, background checks, historical insurance information, and Office of Inspector General Exclusions Intiva Health offers a single platform that combines all of the necessary documents into one package and share the information with any medical facility via a user-friendly, optimally efficient solution that will provide the efficiency needed during a health care crisis such as a pandemic.
Manage all of your providers in a centralized database. Whether you want to notify them of expiring credentials or tell them to upload documents to the platform, it can be done with a single click.
Upload, share and track documents of any kind. A health care-specific folder structure provides a convenient method of organization for standard provider documentation.
Receive alerts about credentialing documents or malpractice insurance far in advance to avoid penalties and ensure compliance.
In addition to tracking credentials, administrators can also track provider appointments directly from the dashboard.
Administrators can easily track a provider’s delineation of privileges from the Ready Doc dashboard.
Create and track tasks of any kind that involve your administration, providers, facility, and more, all in the same platform.
Quickly identify OIG excluded individuals and mitigate federal reimbursement ineligibility risks.
Leverage existing reports or generate custom reports and export the documents in a file type that is easy to share.
Ready Doc™ Messaging
An easy-to-use messaging app for smartphones or workstations that helps health care organizations improve care team communications and collaboration while achieving HIPAA-compliance.
At Intiva Health, we pride ourselves on being able to create efficiencies within health care that would be otherwise “unattainable.” That’s why we have always offered our Ready Doc™ credentialing platform for free for any facility and will continue to do so. We believe that health care dollars should be directed toward patient care, not administrative burdens. We are doing our part to make sure hospitals are able to use their funds for patients, their care, and their caregivers.
MORE INFORMATION: Schedule a Ready Doc Demo