Supporting Our Hospitals, Providers, and Communities
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, SHO has been privileged to support the Hospitals’ response to COVID-19 and serve alongside them in a variety of ways. It’s been inspiring to see SHO’s “Strength Through Partnership” truly come to life. “We watched our hospitals go from contacting patients to come in for an annual wellness visit to setting up command centers, redeploying staff, and seeing patients through virtual visits. The hospitals’ response has been rapid, innovative and hugely impressive,” commented Dave Lippincott, SHO President. SHO Hospitals along with SHO itself, have supported one another with supplies, equipment, and best practice sharing throughout this unprecedented time.
As the pandemic unfolded, it quickly became evident that the ability for SHO hospital providers to see patients virtually was an increasingly necessary part of providing care. This transition impacted our team greatly in the areas of telehealth and credentialing. Nearly half of SHO’s team took on additional roles to support the new program implementation and expansion of Telehealth visits among SHO Hospitals. Staff members were directly involved in setting up virtual clinics, loading providers and associates, as well as triaging telehealth questions as they arose. Through SHO alone, nearly 11,000 virtual visits were conducted within a seven-month time span, an immense increase in utilization compared to the three previous years combined. We also saw an increase in credentialing activity as providers became flexible in how and where they provide care.
During this time, our Affinity Groups became more important than ever. Throughout March, April, May, and June, many councils and taskforces gathered virtually to discuss matters specific to COVID-19 response and planning. Some met as often as weekly, while others bi-weekly or periodically, as needed. Our tertiary partners—Community Health Network, Franciscan Health, IU Health, and St. Vincent Health—were also involved in various discussions.
With the heightened importance of our Affinity Groups and the need for best practice sharing, SHO developed an online portal to collect and share valuable resources across SHO, from our hospitals as well as business partners. This Resource Center included an up-to-date dashboard of SHO hospital COVID cases and ICU bed and ventilator inventories. Other postings included new policies and procedures, results of key decisions, action plans, strategies, communications, or other information helpful to other SHO Hospitals while responding to COVID-19.
SHO’s Long Term Care Team has stayed busy sourcing supplies and making deliveries to facilities partnered with five of our SHO hospitals. SHO’s team also worked with nursing homes to provide virtual training and support such as virtual expressive arts and a virtual qualified medication aide insulin administration certification. In June, we began limited onsite education visits. July brought various recognition events and parades for the facilities.
SHO’s Continuing Education team has provided a variety of webinars on topics such as The Mental Health Impact of Pandemics and Social Distancing and How to Care for Pregnant Moms and Babies During the COVID Pandemic: Inpatient & Outpatient Services. Additionally, over 400 of our hospital associates were invited to a Telehealth COVID-19 webinar hosted by Hall Render specifically for SHO and offered for Continuing Education credit.
Additionally, SHO CMO Dr. Craig Wilson provided regular COVID-19 email updates to hospital leadership, featuring a collection of the latest in clinical information related to the pandemic as information continued to evolve from various state, federal, and global resources.
Throughout this unprecedented time, SHO Hospitals have partnered together to ensure that Hoosiers receive the care that they need. SHO would like to recognize its hospitals for their openness and the camaraderie they have displayed during this challenging time.