In the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, I have found great comfort in seeing the best of humanity unfold — the resilience of spirit and our collective resourcefulness.
These early stages of the outbreak have been an extreme test of adjusting to new ways of doing things before even considering a return to “normal.”
Keeping this in mind, I explore the positive and start with a very basic question: Why do I feel our company has transitioned through this upheaval so smoothly?
The first part of the answer is that there has been tireless work at every level of the company — good foresight, effective planning, and adaptability across the board — to prepare and respond to the unprecedented events of the past couple of months.
We could not have known it then, but our company actually started preparing for situations like this several years ago — an effort that started with this email message, the very first one in my MEDITECH email inbox:
Google Enterprise Support <email@example.com>
Thu, Nov 17, 2011, 2:17 PM
Thank you for purchasing Google products and services. Your Google Enterprise Support Portal username and password information is at the bottom of this email...
That was the day that MEDITECH began our journey to cloud consumption, Software as a Service, and a slow, methodical paradigm shift. A decade ago, we would still have been successful in this crisis, but there would have been a huge amount of moving gear around, installing software, educating our staff on access methods, and a loss of productivity while we adapted.
By contrast, today we find solutions with a URL typed into a browser. This provides us with our tools, answers our questions, and allows for every type of communication.
For MEDITECH, moving to the cloud was a game changer — and it put us in a solid position to adapt when literally the whole world changed.
More importantly, especially for our front line medical professionals, we have shared those tools with our customers so that they can rise to the challenge posed by COVID-19.
“Flattening” the digital landscape to improve healthcare delivery
During the coronavirus outbreak, the statistical term “flattening the curve” has taken on new meaning and urgency.
The concept of “flattening” has also been central to healthcare IT development, in terms of the information environment: When we use resources like the cloud to put data in a doctor’s hands faster, we are flattening the landscape, so to speak, by removing barriers between the provider and the patient.
Cloud computing also reduces the cost and maintenance barriers that hospitals often confront when dealing with on-premise data centers, which then allows more healthcare organizations to have access to the same level of technology that their larger counterparts do.
I often say that one of our goals as a company is to “democratize” healthcare, meaning we aim to give more people, regardless of the economic situation in their community, access to technology that helps them improve their health.
Just in the last two months, as we’ve offered free use of Virtual Visits to all of our customers, we’ve seen smaller hospitals make huge strides in providing safe and convenient communication with their patients, and in gathering and processing clinically relevant information so providers can make the best decisions as quickly as possible.
At the same time, the COVID-19 outbreak has increased the need for efficient and timely testing and reporting of results to state and federal health agencies — and we’ve been able to rapidly build those functionalities right into our EHR so that our customers can access those tools as part of their clinicians’ daily workflow without major disruption.
Our ability to share digital tools like Virtual Visits and to quickly develop new functionality into our EHR is built directly on that decision we made a decade ago to adopt the cloud as a fundamental part of our business operations.
Equipping healthcare organizations for the challenges they face today — and tomorrow
We will undoubtedly spend years debating how the COVID-19 situation could have been better, worse, or completely avoided, but one common theme has already emerged: Preparation has made a significant difference in how communities have responded to the outbreak.
Just as MEDITECH adopted new cloud technology and shared its benefits with our customers, we are incorporating the lessons learned from the COVID-19 response into our solutions so that we and our front-line providers can be ready for the challenges ahead.
A decade ago, we embarked on a journey to adopt new digital tools so that our technical and clinical innovators can build solutions to meet the challenges of today’s rapidly-changing healthcare landscape.
That foresight has enabled us to be productive and responsive during this crisis, and gives us an opportunity for further success as we move toward a new normal for our society.
See how MEDITECH is supporting providers during the COVID-19 pandemic.