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Lessons Learned From the COVID-19 Pandemic on Improving Hospital Care

August 4, 2021

In March 2020, New York City became the United States’ epicenter for the COVID-19 pandemic. In a densely populated and culturally diverse metropolis with a population of more than 8 million people, rapidly spreading infections became a public health emergency that hospitals had to face. Hospitalizations increased to a level that the city had to prepare for fast.

NYC Health + Hospitals, the largest municipal hospital system in the country, served an important role in caring for sick patients. Whether it is in preparation for another public health emergency, or to simply build upon care in a less demanding situation, there are many lessons clinicians have learned throughout the pandemic that can be applied.

In an article written for JAMA Internal Medicine, Executive Director Dr. Ted Long goes into detail on the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic that hospitals can use to improve hospital care and health care delivery.

Read about these lessons, as well as possible recommendations for hospitals for future preparedness here: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2782429

Key points:

  • Hospitals should have clear policies on credentialing physicians not currently on staff.
  • There should be reciprocity agreements between states for medical licenses with credentialing information for physicians to be more easily deployed where needed.
  • Hospitals should build regional relationships in which specialists can be utilized to help guide generalists.
  • There should be a detailed disaster plan including what areas of a hospital can be expanded, how to increase the ability to care for patients in an influx, and how to gain immediate access to additional staff.
  • Hospitals should provide and maintain easy-to-access mental health resources for staff.
  • There should be increased efforts to address racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare in order to promote equitable and inclusive patient-care and employment.