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13 stories that mark an extraordinary year in healthcare

Estimated read time: 6 minutes

by Cerner Corporation

Published on 3/11/2021

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic ─ an announcement that quickly changed nearly every aspect of our daily lives. Over the past 12 months, the virus has taken a devastating toll. Challenging circumstances around combatting the virus have pushed us to embrace more accessible, convenient and patient-centered healthcare delivery, and we have proven that we can innovate faster than ever thought possible.

From the rapid rise of telehealth to addressing mental health challenges and shifting to virtual workforce health strategies, these 13 blogs, podcasts and client stories provide a timeline of the many ways COVID-19 has shaped the now and next in healthcare.

MARCH 2020 - Q&A: How can telehealth help lower risks during a public health crisis?

At the start of the pandemic, telehealth became a lifeline for continuing care safely. In this blog, Peter Antall, MD, Amwell chief medical officer, shares how virtual care can help combat a public health crisis and what health systems need to know to implement telehealth technology quickly and efficiently. 

“Telehealth is a powerful tool for enhancing healthcare delivery, especially in a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. With common goals, new strategies and one of the strongest healthcare systems in the world, we’ll come out stronger on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic. And, we’ll have learned some new ways to help deliver healthcare ─ preparing us to better serve our communities in the future.” – Peter Antall, MD

APRIL - From a Cerner doctor on the front lines of COVID-19: “My world changed overnight."

As COVID-19 surged across the globe, clinicians on the front lines faced unprecedented circumstances. In this blog, Anup D. Salgia, DO, FACEP, Cerner medical director, documents his professional and personal experiences while caring for COVID-19 patients in Ohio.

MAY - New medication management recommendations can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 at long-term care facilities

Nursing homes and adult care facilities were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. In this blog, Nicole Fink, lead operations manager, long-term and post-acute care, Cerner, explores how technology and other strategies can be used to help reduce in-person interactions while administering medicine.

JUNE - Ep. 180: Reopening hospital services during COVID-19: Two executives takes

The question of what services to bring back ─ and when ─ was top of mind for care providers as they worked to balance the load of COVID-19 patients and non-COVID-19 care. In this episode, Dick Flanigan, Cerner senior vice president, policy & regulatory strategy, is joined by two central Missouri healthcare executives for a discussion around financial and operational recovery strategies.

JULY - 6 ways data and analytics can be powerful tools in the COVID-19 fight

Data and analytics have played a crucial role throughout COVID-19 response and recovery as healthcare providers consider operational and care delivery preparedness, as well as, how to prioritize backlogged non-essential appointments and procedures. In this blog, we examine how health systems use technology to provide better clarity and support for clinical and operational decision-making.

AUGUST- 2020 healthcare trends revisited

At the start of 2020, we talked about voice-assisted technology, wearables and interoperability as being the hot topics for the year in healthcare. But by early March, COVID-19 took hold around the world and HIMSS was canceled, hospitals were planning for surges and millions of patients came to embrace telehealth. In this blog, Dick Flanigan addresses how the pandemic impacted industry trends around financial viability and innovation. 

“The months ahead are bound to challenge health systems financially as they navigate the effects of the pandemic and challenge society to accept new behaviors and guidelines. But providers can also emerge from this able to provide better and smarter care, simply by continuing to use those ideas that were uncovered when the system was pushed to its limit.” – Dick Flanigan

SEPTEMBER - Q&A: Shifting traditional workforce health strategies to include virtual models

Employers worldwide have felt the impact of COVID-19 with many shifting to virtual workforces to meet the realities of the pandemic. In this Q&A, David Nill, MD, vice president and chief medical officer at Cerner, offers his perspective on the challenges facing employers and the role virtual healthcare will continue to play. 

“Beyond providing another option for those accustomed to visiting an on-site health center, virtual health can be a huge benefit to organizations with dispersed workforces. A virtual option lets employers reach members who may not have easy access to an on-site health center or primary care provider.” - David Nill, MD

OCTOBER - Managing COVID-19 operational challenges in healthcare

While COVID-19 patient surges put tremendous stress on health systems, it also gave providers an opportunity to assess how they can operate more efficiently and effectively. In this blog, we highlight how care teams rely on workforce and capacity management technology and data to allocate resources, increase efficiencies and maintain a safe work environment.

NOVEMBER - Interoperability and analytics improve care and decisions during COVID-19 response

In this client story, EvergreenHealth in Washington State shares how the health system’s leaders quickly began using interoperability as part of their COVID-19 treatment strategy, while using data-driven analytics to help the two-hospital system’s response and decision making.

DECEMBER - Addressing winter, holiday mental health challenges

The stress of living through the uncertainties and isolation of the pandemic has put a spotlight on the importance of mental healthcare. In this blog, Danny Gladden, director of behavior health, Cerner, offers insight into how technology and data combined with a focus on well-being and industry collaboration can help us prevent clinician burnout and provide safe, efficient and effective care.

“There are many steps that organizations can take to better support their clinicians and staff during the challenging months ahead. For example, some hospitals have provided meals for staff and their families, while others have coordinated childcare options for healthcare workers. Having strong processes in place and offering help in these areas can alleviate some of the burdens that medical professionals are enduring.” – Danny Gladden

JANUARY 2021 - Managing the biggest COVID-19 vaccine challenges

Amid COVID-19 surges, the new year brought positive news of safe and effective vaccines to help us lower the spread of the virus and build protection from the disease. In this blog, Dick Flanigan delves into the key challenges that the industry needs to address and how health IT tools can help manage mass COVID-19 vaccination efforts. 

FEBRUARY - Ep. 202: Understanding India’s low COVID-19 mortality rates

India, a country of 1.3 billion people, has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases globally, but its mortality rate is surprisingly low compared to other countries with high infection rates. In this podcast episode, Cerner global leaders Matthew Pickett and Colin Fincham, MD, are joined by Praveen Gurpur, MD, senior healthcare integration partner, Cerner India, for a conversation about how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the world’s second-most populous country.


MARCH - Closing the healthcare cybersecurity gap

Digital healthcare took a huge leap forward in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the footprints of care organizations expanded beyond hospitals and medical campuses, so did their attack surface. Cybercriminals, predictably, have stepped up their attempts to illegally access healthcare data during the pandemic. In this blog, Russ Branzell, president and CEO of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, explains how technology and collaboration can help close the cybersecurity gap.

Cerner is proud to partner with hospitals and health systems across the globe to meet the care demands of COVID-19, including providing technology and support for mass vaccination. In addition, Cerner has worked diligently to protect the health and well-being of its workforce throughout the pandemic.