As the healthcare industry faces overwhelming new challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Luma Health team has been super-focused on innovating our Total Patient Engagement™ Platform to further support our customers as they respond to COVID-19 outbreaks in their respective communities.
Last month, a team of Luma Health data scientists scoured datasets to study the COVID-19 infection curve, disease control directives in specific regions across the United States, as well as the outbreak’s impact on healthcare providers.
This critical research directly informs our product and innovation roadmap, ensuring we continue to meet the ever-evolving needs of clinics, hospitals, and health systems across the country — especially as the coronavirus continues to make its mark. We’ll be sharing more on this front in the coming weeks and months.
Here are our key findings to date, along with a brief overview of a Five-Stage Framework for Managing the Coronavirus Pandemic. Our hope is that the information we share today, and in the coming weeks, will be useful to all healthcare providers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 Current State Assessment
• The coronavirus will continue to remain a threat until a vaccine becomes broadly available.
• Various U.S. states and communities will hit peak infection rates at different times over the coming weeks and months. Healthcare provider response is largely based on the level of infection rates in their local areas.
• Even after infection rates slow, outbreaks will continue to emerge in local communities across the nation. Healthcare providers must continue to vigilantly screen patients to keep transmission and infection rates to a minimum.
• It’s essential we all prepare for the long-haul, as COVID-19 is not going away any time soon.
• Healthcare providers and health systems need a response plan for each stage of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Five-Stage Framework for Healthcare Managing the COVID-19 Pandemic
Luma Health’s in-depth research has enabled us to build-out a product roadmap to immediately support our customers (clinics, hospitals, and health systems) through the pandemic, and our five-stage COVID-19 response framework aims to help healthcare teams manage their immediate set of challenges, and better prepare for and respond to future outbreaks in their communities.
We will be sharing more detailed information soon. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek:
1. Stage 1 – Readying for Disruption
We’ve learned that healthcare clinics are operating at capacity during the first response stage, but they’re beginning to see some disruptions to their daily operations. While there is awareness of potential virus-related risks, the response from government leaders during this stage is limited. The main challenges we’ve identified for healthcare clinics in Stage 1 center around proactive patient outreach, rapid two-way communication, and exposure risk assessment.
2. Stage 2 – Operational Disruption
As the outbreak shifts from Stage 1 to Stage 2, local state, county, and city governments initiate a public health response. Healthcare clinics work to minimize risks while continuing to provide essential care. Non-critical appointments are deferred, and steps are taken to support patients virtually. We’ve determined that the primary emerging needs in this stage are telehealth, ongoing communication, and pre-visit screening and patient risk stratification.
3. Stage 3 – Peak Infection & Crisis Management
Health systems and clinics are most strained and community spread is at its highest during stage three. However, the severity of this stage can vary from region to region. Areas may experience resource shortages—even among ambulatory care centers—and need to focus heavily on emergency needs while converting all non-critical care to virtual care. Our analysis found that the most pressing issues during stage three are: testing, screening, and risk management for patient populations; virtual managed care and patient outcome checks; and revenue disruption.
4. Stage 4 – De-Escalation of Crisis Conditions
In the fourth stage, infection rates begin to fall and some of the community-wide restrictions that were previously put in place are lifted. The virus is still present; however, healthcare is able to cautiously resume in-office care for some procedures. We’ve identified the following as being significant needs in stage four: outreach for high-priority patient recall and scheduling, care via telehealth virtual visits, ongoing screening, and updated in-office procedures.
5. Stage 5 – The New Normal
During stage five of the COVID-19 response, the virus is effectively managed and most areas of daily life resemble what they were prior to the coronavirus outbreak. The pandemic’s lasting impact creates shifts in the healthcare industry as clinics incorporate newly adopted best practices and technologies into their ongoing routine operations. Areas of focus in this stage primarily revolve around revenue recovery, rescheduling all backlogged appointments, population health management, and meeting new — more modern — patient expectations.
Luma Health is constantly monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic across all 50 states. You can find our most updated thinking for each state here.
It is important to understand that because community spread and severity vary in different parts of the US., so does the timeframe for each of the five stages.
While conditions are changing rapidly, the effects of the coronavirus crisis are not expected to dissipate anytime soon. Luma Health plans to continue sharing research and resources that dive deeper into these stages and what they mean for different parts of healthcare — from primary care clinics to specialty clinics, to FQHCs and community health clinics, to large hospitals and health systems.
Most importantly, stay safe and healthy!