Coronavirus Outbreak: 3 Tips to Keep Your Healthcare Business Safe

April 3, 2020 •

In the wake of coronavirus (COVID-19) becoming a global pandemic, “nonessential” businesses have been forced to close their doors and people everywhere are being urged to stay home. Healthcare businesses, on the other hand, are busier than ever. Keeping frontline healthcare workers (and all other employees) as safe as possible is crucial—their well-being directly affecting the well-being of the entire community.

A strategic engagement-based approach can ensure healthcare systems are well-equipped to take on the COVID-19 outbreak. From protecting equipment, employees, and systems, here are 3 tips to keep you healthcare business safe during these difficult times. 

#1 Protect Essential Functions

Maintaining a healthy work environment is more than just handling the issues as they’re presented to you, but being prepared for the unexpected. The WHO announced in a press conference that there is a “chronic global shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gowns, gloves, eye protection, and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-certified, disposable N95 or better rated mask.”

Amid shortages of necessities like COVID-19 testing kits, materials to run the tests, and ventilators, hospitals are desperately seeking alternatives, according to Kaiser Health. As healthcare businesses are forced to get creative, like trying out new machinery, it’s in your best interest to guard your facility against equipment malfunction claims. This is where having the right insurance comes in.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) also suggests the following: 

  • Identify alternate supply chains for necessary goods
  • Be prepared to temporarily suspend some of your operations if needed
  • Come together with other businesses in your communities (especially those in your supply chain) in order to maximize overall community response

#2 Protect the Well-being of Employees

Engagement-based leadership and connecting with employees is important in creating a supportive work environment. Healthcare practitioners need to feel you’re doing everything in your power to limit their stress, so they can focus on their work rather than being concerned with the risks they’re facing. They need this now more than ever.

Working on the frontlines of a global pandemic is an exhausting and foreign experience for most, if not all, healthcare personnel. Depending on age, pre existing conditions, and interactions with infected patients, workers are not only at a high risk of infection themselves, but fear being held liable for inevitable mishaps while navigating uncharted waters.

Here are some ways to reassure employees that their health matters too:

  • Create a work from home plan for everyone who does not physically need to be in the workplace
  • Insure allied healthcare workers, physicians, physicians assistants, nurses, and nurse practitioners
  • Enact flexible sick leave policies for workers who are infected or are the only available caregiver for a loved one who has become infected
  • Postpone elective procedures and non-urgent surgeries

#3 Protect Digital Practices

Administrative and engineering controls are both thoroughly in favor of isolating infected patients, as COVID-19 is spread easily between people who are in close proximity to each other and remains active in the air and on surfaces long enough for someone else to catch it (even after the infected person has left). 

Implementing engagement-based telemedicine practices is a great way to minimize exposure of healthcare personnel who still need to work. But using more technology in the workplace, and allowing people who can work from home to do so, requires an understanding of security risks and seeking protection in terms of cyber liability. 

Here are some of the beneficial ways healthcare facilities can utilize digital communication in the workplace during the pandemic: 

  • Screen patients from afar with telemedicine to reduce the influx of patients
  • Perform tasks away from patients when possible—isolate suspected cases and confirmed cases from one another, and connect via telemedicine in their rooms, Airborne Infection Isolation Rooms (AIIRs), or other portable containment structures
  • Hold meetings and conferences digitally through online meeting platforms
  • Reduce the number of healthcare personnel in a patient’s room by applying HIPAA-compliant video conferencing

Set the Stage to Do More With Less

Research pertaining to employee engagement in healthcare, compiled by Bonfyre, an employee experience platform, proves that reducing the stress and fear for workers allows them to better focus on the work itself. Of the facts former editor Matt Stolpe lists, the most noteworthy are that engagement-based healthcare leads to the following:

  • Lower operating costs
  • Safer and more thorough patient care
  • Better patient satisfaction
  • Ability to do more with less 

Given the shortages caused by coronavirus, that last point is more important than ever. Keeping your healthcare business safe means protecting your employees to keep them engaged, and if that engagement is done from afar, it means protecting their digital world. 

The longevity of your business and the community depends on it. 

We wanted to give our utmost thanks during this period to the healthcare workers currently on the front lines. We’re here to support you should you need to insure any part of the process. 

We are with you.