Confronting Coronavirus: Improving Performance During the Pandemic

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Optimizing Resources and Performance During the Pandemic

Sending Ventilators Where They’re Needed Most

A new public-private effort is aimed at distributing ventilators to critical areas with the greatest need. Leaders from the American Hospital Association and several hospitals and health systems participated in the White House announcement of the Dynamic Ventilator Reserve.

The collaborative has created an online inventory of ventilators and associated supplies like tubing and filters to support the overall needs of combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospitals and health systems will add to the database available equipment that they can lend to others in the country. Providers are then able to access this virtual inventory as their need for ventilators increases. The AHA will manage the inventory with full transparency to those participating in the effort. The AHA will work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency when this virtual inventory might be needed to supplement the national emergency stockpile.

Managing COVID-19 in Rural Communities

Two rural hospital leaders recently discussed how they prepared for a surge of COVID-19 patients in an AHA webinar. Rex McKinney, president and CEO of Decatur County Memorial Hospital in Greensburg, Ind., and Mary Ellen Pratt, CEO of St. James Parish Hospital in Lutcher, La., also shared promising practices in caring for COVID-19 patients. The AHA also has developed a Rural Hospitals Interventions for Coronavirus (COVID-19) website that includes case studies.

In addition, the Rural Health Information Hub has launched an online Rural COVID-19 Innovations resource page. This site provides a collection of best practices, lessons learned and other examples addressing health care and health-related concerns.

Closing the Gap on Critical Needs

Protect the Heroes

The Creative Coalition, Association for Healthcare Philanthropy and the AHA recently launched the Protect the Heroes campaign, that allows the general public to make direct impact donations to America’s hospitals and health systems. Every dollar raised through Protect the Heroes goes directly to the donor’s choice of local hospital to purchase personal protective equipment and other support for their local health care workers as they fight COVID-19.

When individuals visit the Protect the Heroes website, they can choose either their own local hospital or another one and contribute to hospital emergency relief funds. Each hospital will determine where funds should be applied.

Addressing Drug Shortages

Providence Health & Services has created an incident-command structure to address potential shortages in medications and supplies due to COVID-19. Pharmacy leaders from each of Providence’s regions and drug manufacturers have banded together to closely monitor the availability of 150 medications that include antibiotics, opiates and neuromuscular blocking agents to facilitate mechanical ventilation for COVID-19 patients.

Helmet-Based Ventilator Debuts

University of Chicago Medicine is using a helmet-based ventilation device to treat some COVID-19 patients instead of employing traditional ventilators. The FDA-approved helmet functions similarly to a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, pumping high-pressure oxygen into a patient’s lungs. The helmet connects directly to a hospital’s oxygen supply. It's made of clear plastic, features an airtight collar to prevent leaks and has a filter to protect against COVID-19.

Testing and Tracing Developments

Amazon to Build Virus-Testing Lab

Amazon is building its own testing labs to help keep its warehouses and distribution centers open during the coronavirus shutdown. Because it can’t get the tests it needs at scale, Amazon has started building a lab and hopes to start testing employees soon.

Apple, Google Building Contact Tracing Tool

Apple and Google revealed last week that the two tech rivals are collaborating to launch a contact-tracing app for COVID-19. The system would use a Bluetooth signal to bounce between users’ mobile phones to trace their recent contacts. If persons disclosed that they had been diagnosed with COVID-19, then all those with whom they had been in contact would receive an alert.

HHS, Walgreens, CVS Get Behind Rapid Testing

The Department of Health & Human Services is purchasing 1,200 of Abbott’s ID Now point-of-care testing machines and more than 30,000 of the quick turn-around COVID-19 tests that run on them. Walgreens and CVS Health also are expanding their drive-through testing using the point-of-care platform.

First Saliva Test to Help Diagnose COVID-19

Rutgers University researchers have received Food and Drug Administration clearance for the first saliva test to help diagnose COVID-19, a new approach that could help expand testing options and reduce risks of infection for health care workers.

Cybersecurity Guidance for Remote Physicians

AMA and AJA Provide Cyber Guidance for Physicians Working Remotely

Responding to a spike in cyberthreats that are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to exploit telework and network vulnerabilities, the AHA and the American Medical Association teamed up to provide physicians and hospitals with guidance on protecting a remote work environment from cybercriminals. The resources offer actions physicians can take to protect security for home- or hospital-based computers, networks and devices.

Business Community Steps Up to Help Providers Respond

Vendors Offer Free AI X-Ray Tool

Technology vendors Thirona and Delft Imaging have launched CAD4COVID. This new artificial intelligence tool analyzes X-ray images and is intended to support health care specialists who manage COVID-19 cases. In support of the crisis, the companies are offering the tool free. Thirona and Delft Imaging are partnering with several hospitals and academic medical institutions worldwide to validate CAD4COVID.

Free Mechanical Ventilation Course for COVID-19

A free online course, Mechanical Ventilation for COVID-19, offered by HarvardX will help prepare licensed non-ICU hospital clinicians to support critical care respiratory therapists, physicians and nurses in caring for a patient who is receiving mechanical ventilation during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the global shortage of ventilators remains a major issue, proper training is another challenge hospitals face.

Decision Support

Mednition, a Concord Health Partners AHA Innovation Development Fund LP company and partner with the Emergency Nurses Association, is offering — free of charge until the current COVID-19 crisis has passed — use of its Clinical Data Engine platform for mass extraction of clinical features (including free text) from large COVID-19 patient data sets and delivering back (De-Id or PHI) to researchers via secure cloud access for COVID-19 research. This offer includes Mednition’s advanced Clinical Natural Language Processing, data science expertise and clinical analytics insights from KATE, a platform that provides real-time triage clinical decision support for emergency departments. Contact Steven Reilly, CEO, at or 310-291-1421, or Christian Reilly, president, at or 650-548-9229.

The AHA COVID-19 website has the latest tools and resources to help hospitals and health systems respond to the pandemic.

We want to hear from you! Please send your feedback to Bob Kehoe at

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