At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, we launched our From the Frontlines series—a bi-weekly gathering of clinicians across the country where we discuss topics at the forefront of medicine, share ideas and build connections with one another as we continue to learn more about the Novel-Coronavirus (COVID-19) and confront the challenges of providing care during the pandemic. Our national response to this virus is being led by our clinicians, who are developing immediate strategies and solutions to keep their communities and colleagues healthy and safe.
Recently, we heard from Barbara Virt, MD, James Johnson, MD, and John Jones, MD, who helped deploy clinicians to New York at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak in the spring. They shared with us how they cared for patients and communities, collaborated, formed incredible bonds with one another and learned from their shared experiences. They also created an avenue for clinicians to continue to respond to the nation’s most challenging medical emergencies.
Vice President of Integration
On the operational challenges she faced: There was an urgent need to get teams to New York. While we onboard new practices all the time and have standard diligence, workflows, timelines, tasks, and checklists, we had to accelerate all of those procedures and think outside the box to problem solve in such a short time. I want to recognize all the teams that were involved in this from start to finish. Everyone was committed to getting clinicians to New York to help the community.
“The whole experience was a great display of teamwork and collaboration between our clinical and clinical support teams. It was just amazing how everybody jumped into this process feet first to get it done.”
– Barbara Virt
James Johnson, MD
Anesthesiologist and Senior Vice President Leading the New York Deployment on the Ground
On his purpose as a clinician: Everyone understood that this was about our purpose as clinicians and what we do as a medical group. It was clear that everyone was 100 percent invested in providing the best patient care and protecting our clinicians, no matter what it took.
As clinicians, we are always there for patients, and often during some of their most vulnerable moments. Our goal is always to provide the highest quality of care and make patients feel as comfortable as possible. However, COVID-19 presented many obstacles, as it was a new disease that we were continuing to learn about. It took a heavy toll on us when patients were unable to have a warm touch or a face-to-face conversation with their family member or their clergy, or any sort of social support network. In a way, the clinician becomes the friend or family in that moment. It is a responsibility that carries so much significance and honor. When patients need you, you do whatever you can. That is why we got into medicine in the first place.
“Mobilizing a team rapidly and being there for patients when and where they needed it most during this pandemic was a feat that could only be accomplished by a family. I've never felt more like I have a work family than I do now.”
– James Johnson, MD
John Jones, MD
On working and learning with new colleagues: I knew immediately that strong communication with the team based in New York would be essential. It took some time, but I began to feel more comfortable and empowered to ask questions and provide suggestions. Sometimes we disagreed, but that's okay—that's the way teams work. By the time I left, I felt embraced and integrated into their system. It was a pleasure working with them.
Not every hospital does the same thing, and there's a lot to learn from each other. One of the major challenges of this crisis is that we're constantly learning. Information sharing at the grassroots level and between hospitals and clinicians is essential. We’ve seen it work here at Envision on a national level.
“In your normal practice, you handle a lot of things that don't have to do with patient care. Then, you get an opportunity like this to help patients who are in the most need and reconnect with the reasons you went to medical school. It was a whirlwind, but it was absolutely the right thing to do.”
– James Johnson, MD
Hosted by Adam Brown, MD, MBA, FACEP, President, Emergency Medicine, Co-Chair, National COVID-19 Task Force, From the Frontlines is a bi-weekly teleconference panel of multispecialty clinicians nationwide who speak from the frontlines and discuss the evolving best practices as they address the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit www.evhc.net/coronavirus to watch past webinars and learn more about our work on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a leading national medical group, Envision brings clinicians together to offer transformative patient care and hospital practices. Our strength is in the shared expertise of thousands of clinicians across the country, each with a unique story and thoughtful understanding of medical practices.