It should come as no surprise that of all the disruptions COVID-19 caused across the world, the industry that experienced the greatest shock was the medical field. COVID-19 exposed weak points in the American healthcare system. Learning how hospitals have adapted to COVID-19 reveals many changes that may remain permanent.
Color Coding Hospital Spaces
During the COVID-19 outbreak, hospitals around the country became creative with ways they could reorganize and reconfigure their spaces. Some of the solutions, which will likely remain long after the crisis ends, are relatively low-tech.
For instance, Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City created visual cues in patient’s rooms to tell hospital employees about the risk level of the occupant. Color-coded paint in the rooms and tape on the floors communicate the patient’s risk threshold. This has improved communication and will likely remain after the pandemic has ended.
Hospitals At Home
For the past few years, the healthcare profession had already been moving toward more online communication between physicians and patients. But the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated these changes. Partially because keeping people out of hospitals keeps them safe from infection, partially because patients now realize the time-saving benefits of over-the-phone medical consultations, one of the most lasting aspects of how hospitals have adapted to COVID-19 is the adoption of what doctors call “hospitals at home.”
Going into the future, it’s likely that more and more minor visits, just like check-ins, will be handled over video calls. Not only will this limit the chances of exposure for patients, but it will also limit the amount of waste accumulated by hospitals, which has also become a concern in the post-COVID world.
Social Distancing and Limiting Personnel
Following the lead of the CDC, hospitals all across the country adopted new codes of conduct for how patients, hospital personnel, and visitors interact. Physicians and administrators were advised to use video conferencing whenever possible and to increase the space of their workstations so as to avoid close contact. Also, the number of people allowed in common areas was reduced. Visitors now have to be assessed for a fever and other COVID-19 symptoms before they can enter the facility. They also must wear a face mask.