5 IT considerations as New York adds thousands to its healthcare workforce

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that around 40,000 people answered his call to support healthcare workers in the state during the coronavirus pandemic, including 2,265 physicians and 2,409 nurses.

The state has thousands of COVID-19 cases and projections estimate hospitals may need 140,000 people to handle the coming cases. Some of the physicians and nurses are re-joining the workforce after retirement or leaving their direct patient care practice for other occupations. Gov. Cuomo said the state has enough personal protective equipment to support the workforce surge, but will its technology infrastructure hold up?

Politico outlined a few of the staffing considerations for healthcare workers re-entering the field. From the IT side, hospitals and healthcare organizations will need to ensure:

1. Access to mobile phones, iPads or laptops to document their work
2. Education on how to use the most updated version of the EHR
3. Integration into the internal communication platforms and systems
4. Secure access to patient records and communications
5. Education and materials for telehealth and remote patient monitoring

Healthcare workers re-entering the workforce after a period away may not be familiar with the current technology and need educational briefings to understand how to appropriately treat and document patients. They will be entering teams that have distinct communication preferences and alerts around patient care that will need to integrate the new entrants.

IT leaders must also secure Wi-Fi in the new working spaces and access to the secure network for all incoming healthcare workers.

Finally, many patients are turning to telehealth for medical consultations. If any of the surge workers will be conducting telehealth or virtual visits, they will need the appropriate equipment access and ability to input the appropriate information for coding and billing.


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