Has COVID been a blessing?

As we slowly – for most of us – move out of Covid restriction -we look at how the forcing of Hospitals to be online may well be the saviour they have still yet to recognise.

Some four years ago, I am sitting with a Clinical Consultant at a major Uk Hospital and he says to me, ‘Richard”, he says: “we can never do patient appointments without the patient being there. The Nurses just won’t stand for it”.

This is an interesting observation. Because, whilst we all have seen instances of reluctant or obstructive IT Teams, or even “Transformation Teams” – and now more likely, Data teams, towards the introduction of new tech driven processes, what we are seeing still, is that these insecurities are supported at a human nature level, and the excuses of choice are related to “unacceptable risk”, or “doesn’t fit our road map” or worse “we already have a policy for this”.

This is a pity, because if there is one benefit from COVID turning our lives upside down, it is that our lives can be much better when we put everything back in order. And there is no reason not to.

Because, what we know now of course, is that the secure tech exists, and has done so for some years, for perfectly capable remote patient discussion – and its advantages of bringing to the party additional protagonists to fit whichever patient we are talking to – are well known. So the question is:

Why did we not think of this before?

Well, we did. And it was not you and I in healthcare, that created or discovered it. It was our phone companies, and our search engines, whose livelihood depended on things being secure, flexible, and above all workable – long before you and I started to relate the same services that we use in our daily lives – to our working lives.

The upshot of all this, is that it now brings into question, why are we persisting with our old ways of doing things, our giant clunky solutions, our old SQL and single-sign on etc processes, when they have already long been superseded by mobile Apps that you and I can download for a few pence, and that require no support, and connect with planet Zog, from the moment we start to install in our front bedroom.

Yet you could say this is a negative. The driver for this unseen revolution, has been the necessity of COVID, to not meet people. Fair enough. I get that.

But now we are there, can we not recognise the promised land that gives us Carte Blanche to absolutely look again at how we run our hospitals, what is new and available right now, to do the same job that used to and still costs us zillions – when we can indeed reach a much better utopia, further, and use our resources much better?

What we have found over the past two years when we talked at all levels throughout Hospitals, is that there is no single Department, or Division, etc where we can point a finger. It is the prejudice of the individual that restricts them from going outside their comfort zone, that it is Ok to go outside their comfort zone – that it is essential to do so.

The problems that we are currently experiencing, of longer waiting lists, of five hour waiting times at E&E, and I could go on – are the result of the inability and unwillingness to prepare for change. Which brings me to my point. We surely do not want to experience another pandemic, to realise that we could have done it all better, so much earlier.

Location Intelligence. A Life-Saver as well as a Business Advantage

We are pleased to publish the announcement of a relevant Seminar from the guys at Esri.com, who do the ArcGIS mapping software. Now you can see the problem areas of Coronavirus – on a place near you. Or hopefully not near. And you can plan accordingly.  Robby Deming, their Senior Media Strategist writes to us: 

“I wanted to let you know about an opportunity to connect with Esri’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Este Geraghty about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) mapping and analysis.

As part of Esri’s Healthcare Information Technology 2020 Webinar Series, Dr. Geraghty will be leading a live webinar on April 23 from 10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m. (PDT) entitled “Informing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Response with Location Intelligence.”  Dr. Geraghty will provide an overview of mapping and data resources Esri is providing to public and private organizations impacted by COVID-19 and will detail a prescriptive, five-step plan for communities to assess their local vulnerability. Dr. Dora Barilla from Providence St. Joseph Health will share some of her organization’s experiences with managing COVID-19 and discuss the importance of mapping and location intelligence during a pandemic.

The webinar will also include a Q&A between Dr. Geraghty, Dr. Barilla, and attendees.

You are invited to register online for this free webinar.”

At a time when relevant and accurate news on this topic, is surprisingly rare, the concept of how we handle in various different ways,  our hot spots of epidemic, is important.  Worth a listen.  

The Link is; https://www.esri.com/en-us/landing-page/corporate-programs/2020/health-information-technology-covid-19-location-intelligence-webinar-?adumkts=dpm&aduse=health_human_services&aduin=public_health&aduc=email&adum=list&aduSF=outlook&utm_Source=email&aduca=mi_himss_20&aduco=informing_covid_with_li&adut=973217_media&aduat=event_registration&adupt=awareness&sf_id=7015x000000iRNVAA2

New Advances in Coronavirus solutions. Such a Pity…

We look at the equal march of COVID-19 and solutions that describe themselves as being “the answer”, and ask;   Why has it taken this long for them to come to the fore… and is COVID-19 the excuse of choice, for both marketeers, and people who didn’t want to go to work anyway.


I can’t say that we have received thousands, this is not a nationwide chart of  major instances – but  certainly in their twenties. In the time since mid January, when we have started to wake up and then be immersed in an epidemic of confusion as to where this is all going, I am beginning to regret turning on my Inbox in the morning, – in the same way as ~I have long since turned off my radio at 07.10 each morning – to see yet another announcement of a major Coronavirus breakthrough.

COVID-19 has become the marketeer paradise. It gets everyone’s attention. We are glued to it and them. And we want good news. What more is there to love?

And each announcement does indeed bring good news! I publish here just a few snippets of our latest ones;

DeeDee Rubenstein writes: ”

“One of the side effects of COVID-19 has been a mental health crisis in the United States. Isolation and uncertainty has created a sudden shift in our country that has never been experienced before. Last month the “Disaster Distress Helpline” at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration experienced a 891% increase in calls.

The sudden decline in mental health is an alarming indicator that telehealth for mental health should be implemented in a cost effective and accessible manner. Below are two companies that are addressing the new COVID-19 mental health crisis.”… etc…

And we have this from the MDClone company:

“Collaborate and compare insights with healthcare organizations worldwide to combat COVID-19.  MDClone has launched a fast-to-install platform to understand and manage COVID-19 efforts, dramatically increasing the ability to use data to improve quality and operations in a streamlined, efficient package.

With the MDClone Pandemic Response Package, healthcare organizations are able to leverage COVID-19 relevant data to understand performance and engage other like-minded systems, enabling the healthcare community to collaborate on new ideas, apply lessons learned from other organizations, and come together to better understand the virus.”

And Vani Edwardson of the Macadamian company sends us this Good News (he actually uses these words too) -story, about their Self-Screening mobile app, for COVID-19 health workers;

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created an urgent need for health care providers both in Long-Term Care and in hospital settings to have the ability to assess and monitor the health status of their front line to both mitigate risks and respond accordingly.

Screening is a primary line of defense in keeping COVID-19 out of our Long-Term Care and hospital settings, yet the screening process can be time-consuming. Be it on paper or on a web-based solution it adds an extra step to the start of the shift at a highly stressful time. Lining up for screening also creates challenges with respect to adherence to physical distancing, within an essential workforce.”

All of the above solutions have merit. And they  all deserve our attention.  But for COVID-19, they are probably already too late, even here in the UK where I am writing this, and when our nurses are struggling even to get hold of face masks let alone clever mobile apps. There is a distinct feeling of jumping on bandwagons or shutting doors after horses have long since gone.

And that is a pity, because the issues described above, are serious, and the solutions should be relevant for the future not just there present.

But equally, have we now already got used to being in lockdown, being away from our office, and if we are not  mentally ill, or we are not in the front line of  health,  -isn’t it all still quite a lot of fun working from home in the  morning, and playing with the kids in the afternoon?

Because we have now reached the tipping point.  If the number alas of people sadly passing away from Coronavirus at this time, is less or equal to, the number that would normally decease at this time – and this might already start to be the case – then just how much damage are we doing continuing this situation or developing solutions for a situation, that is now damaging our way of life in other ways more sinister than our original virus?

I can’t answer this. And perhaps  that was never the point. Because the marketing people have already succeeded in getting my attention – and that is what they wanted all along. Such a pity it will all end soon.