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April 10, 2020: We continue our field reports today with Jamie Nelson who shares news about the situation on the ground at the Hospital for Special Surgery where she is CIO. The team there has had to rapidly change their facilities from orthopedic to general as a way of assisting the different New York Presbyterian campuses with the influx of COVID-19 patients. Jamie gives us insights into what this shift has entailed, speaking about capacity ratios, workload, IT innovations, communications, implementation speed, and which changes she hopes to see continue into the new normal. We hear about the amazing growth in telehealth, the implementation of a coding system in patients’ EPIC charts, and the role of reimbursement and commercial versus Medicaid systems in ensuring their continuation. Jamie talks about the organizational prowess of her teams, the rapid pace at which they have changed gears, and how fluid staff integrations and communication between health systems have been. This process has not been without hiccups though, and Jamie gives a few insights into the challenges that still stand in the way of speeding things up even more. Following that, our guest gives a few recommendations for teams in other parts of the country hoping to prepare themselves for a situation like the one in New York, and she strongly recommends they find a way of fluidly adapting to an ever-changing situation. Listen along and share in the insights Jamie Nelson brings today.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Innovations at the hospital in the days while Jamie was working on its premises.
  • Discontinuing the 90% non-essential orthopedic surgeries to make space for COVID patients.
  • Quickly changing the facility from orthopedic to general.
  • Getting a sense of how much work went into adjusting the hospital.
  • How rapidly the team encoded a color coding system to view patients’ status into EPIC charts.
  • Estimations of which systems implemented now will continue into the new normal.
  • The many multiples of itself in growth that telehealth has seen and its benefits.
  • Reimbursement that needs to remain in order for telehealth to keep going post COVID.
  • The relationship between the medical and commercial spheres in funding Telehealth.
  • Space which is still being made to operate on the most serious orthopedic cases.
  • Challenges in communicating quickly with physicians and nursing leadership.
  • Governance in communications between the different hospital systems in NYC.
  • Quickly integrating staff between different campuses the hospital is supporting.
  • Ways to prepare for an oncoming crisis; being fluid enough to handle unexpected changes.


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