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March 16, 2020: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to strengthen its grip across the US, systems are increasingly being put to the test. The federal government is leaving it up to the state, and places, where the blooms have happened, have more stringent measures in place. As CIOs and CTOs, it is our nature to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. We are always thinking about plan B, C, and even D, which serves us well during times of crisis. Drex DeFord, an independent consultant, and freelance CIO sits down with Bill to discuss some of the preparation challenges many healthcare IT systems will face during this time. In this episode, Bill and Drex unpack two categories of challenges: the obvious ones and the hidden ones. They touch on the issue of communication and the responsibility of health IT to organize through and disseminate the plethora of information. Bill also discusses the importance of having accessible, easy to digest content that reaches all demographics, not only the highly-educated segment of society. Along with this, Bill and Drex also shed light on internal organizational communication and how this might pan out. They walk through other systems facing strain like self-diagnosis, telehealth, and treatment of chronic, non-COVID-19 patients. Some of the less obvious challenges Bill and Drex shed light on include cybersecurity and how the slew of information compromises safety and how changing roles can confuse hierarchy and accountability channels. The challenges are multi-layered and complex, so tune in to hear more!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Learn more about the situation in Seattle, where Drex is based.
  • The communication challenges that face health IT during the crisis.
  • Cybersecurity: One of the less obvious but very important challenges at this time.
  • How sick staff and role changes can present challenges during this time. 
  • Self-diagnosis, telehealth, and other tools we have at our disposal.
  • With the increase in remote work, there’s increased pressure on other infrastructure. 
  • Some of the pandemic management tools and the difficulties around these.
  • This is a great time for healthcare vendors to step up and see where they can help.
  • Some of the best COVID-19 communication resources and their strengths and weaknesses.
  • A look at how to scale up self-diagnosis, through chatbots and call centers. 
  • Learn more about ‘COVID cabanas’ and the equipment they would need to function.
  • Why trying to establish a new VDI during the pandemic is not going to work.
  • Many organizations don’t have the adequate cybersecurity staff, which is being revealed now.
  • Don't be afraid to put things that are not critical on the back burner to build capacity. 
  • The infinite timeline of the COVID-19 crisis makes it unlike any we’ve faced before.
  • An overview of flattening the curve, how it helps manage the outbreak, and China’s success.


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