To put it bluntly, the coronavirus pandemic has changed everything. As we navigate new safety procedures and find moments of “normalcy”, there is another impending threat to our healthcare system: the flu. Even though the healthcare community is much more familiar with the influenza virus, its symptoms are similar to COVID-19, making prevention and diagnosis of the flu or COVID-19 an even more critical task.
Accurate and up-to-date information are our biggest weapons against both of these viruses. Outcome Health is committed to ensuring our point-of-care platform delivers such resources so that physicians and patients can access what they must know to stay healthy.
Patient Education at the Point of Care
Symptoms for the seasonal flu and COVID-19 are alike, so education distinguishing the two viruses is incredibly important. Patient education at the point of care can keep our healthcare system from being overwhelmed. Flu awareness and prevention content is currently playing across Outcome Health’s network of Waiting Room TVs, Exam Room Tablets, and Exam Room Wallboards. Our platform is also running content about hygiene protocols that work to stave off both viruses.
Examples of flu awareness and prevention content currently playing across Outcome Health’s point-of-care platform.
Flu Shot Awareness
The flu vaccine provides greatly needed protection from the worst effects of the flu virus, helps shield others, and aids in recovery. Healthcare professionals should leverage Outcome Health’s point-of-care content platform to inform and support flu shot awareness.
Outcome Health partners with Unity Consortium to bring their important messages about vaccination and immunization to physician practices and health systems across the country. In an article in DTC Perspectives, Judy Klein, President of Unity Consortium, stressed that all young people should get their flu shots to protect themselves, their families and their communities. “This year especially, when our healthcare system is already under such burden and stress due to COVID-19, people must prioritize getting their flu shot.”
Last year, Outcome Health worked with Ethan Lindenberger, a vaccination advocate. After being raised in a vaccination-free household, he has spent the past few years speaking out about the importance of vaccinations and dispelling misinformation on social media, which is especially relevant now.
Relieving Physician Stress and Burnout
COVID-19 is greatly amplifying physician burnout. A recent Sermo survey revealed that 92% of healthcare professionals have felt burnt out because of their job and nearly 75% say the pandemic has exacerbated their sense of burnout among themselves and their colleagues. These overwhelming statistics prompted Outcome Health to launch “Who Saves Me?” to bring awareness to healthcare worker burnout. “Who Saves Me?” also offers tools and resources from Mental Health America to those who need them. In addition to this campaign, Outcome Health will utilize its point-of-care platform to provide content resources for disease and condition management throughout flu season. Giving patients access to trusted information will help ease some of the burden faced by HCP’s treating the flu in the midst of a pandemic.
As the country battles both the pandemic and the flu, the leadership of healthcare professionals has never been more important. Outcome Health is here to ensure healthcare professionals can reach patients and caregivers with critical information when it is needed most.
This article is written by Bright Pink, one of our health advocacy partners.
There is no question that 2020 is out of control, but that doesn’t mean your health has to be. A staggering 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lifetimes. When breast cancer is detected early, five-year survival rates are over 90 percent. That is why it is so important to practice these four basics of “breast self-awareness” on a regular basis.
Know your normal
Conduct a breast self-exam for breast awareness. Check out the look and feel of your breasts to get to know your “normal”. Look at and touch your breast tissue from multiple angles with varying pressure to feel both the deep and surface layers. Don’t forget that your breast tissue extends up your collarbone, around to your armpits, and into your breastbone. Then, you can check in with your breasts regularly to make sure what you see and feel still aligns with your “normal”.
Know your family health history and hereditary risk
Learn what patterns in your family health history could mean that you have a higher personal risk of breast and/or ovarian cancer. Get tips about how to start the conversation with family members about health history. You can also Assess Your Risk through this quick quiz and receive a personalized plan of action. As necessary, you can also seek out genetic testing and counseling.
Do your best to live healthy by eating well, moving more, not smoking, and limiting alcohol. All of these healthy behaviors can reduce your risk for breast cancer.
You deserve to be healthy and well! Take the time to take care of yourself because you’re worth it.
About Bright Pink
Bright Pink is a national nonprofit focused on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer. The organization’s mission is to help save women’s lives from breast and ovarian cancer by empowering them to know their risk and manage their health proactively. Bright Pink’s innovative programs motivate women to prioritize prevention, help women assess their risk for breast and ovarian cancer, equip women with personalized risk-management recommendations, and empower women to manage their health proactively in partnership with a healthcare provider. For more information, visit https://brightpink.org/.
Outcome Health partners with organizations like Bright Pink to bring their important messages to audiences at the point of care. If you’d like to learn more about joining our network, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the home office of Senior Director of Marketing, Cynthia Spitalny:
We have all heard the stories from the pandemic splashed across news headlines. Hospitals reaching capacity. Not enough ventilators to accommodate the critically ill. A PPE shortage including a shortage of N95 masks. But what many of you didn’t hear were the daily decisions that healthcare professionals (HCPs) had to make or had to endure as our scientific, medical, and political factions collided. That collision of sometimes competing forces and influences – and the human impact that had, and continues to have – on our healthcare workers became the premise of our newest campaign, Who Saves Me?
Anxiety and Healthcare Worker Burnout
My husband, Ray, is a physician assistant and is typically a very calm, easy going person. After the first couple months of working under the duress of the pandemic though, he felt barraged and overwhelmed. I am not sure that there was a single moment when I understood that he was burnt out versus it being a series of changes that I saw in him over time (expressing more fear, tension, and unease more regularly), but I knew he was near a breaking point, and that broke my heart.
When I spoke to others with loved ones who were also on the front lines of the pandemic, I heard similar stories. Jacob Gonzalez, one of our practice sales representatives at Outcome Health, told me the following when I asked how his brother’s experience as an HCP during the pandemic impacted him personally:
“For me, it was stressful in the sense that my brother was frequently in a high-risk environment. He ended up contracting COVID-19 and self-isolating for nearly three weeks until his symptoms were gone. His recovery was awesome, but it was still overshadowed by my anxiety of him going back to work and maybe getting sick again. I actually ended up speaking with a therapist…and learned that I was disassociating due to my anxiety. She talked both my brother and I through some techniques to help our mindset while we were both so shaken by the pandemic….I guess the moral is that the anxiety was absolutely unavoidable in every sense.”
What Causes Healthcare Worker and Physician Burnout?
Within a 4 week period, the hospital that Ray works for communicated the following to all staff:
We are doing everything we can to not lay anyone off(while the hospital is near or at capacity and HCPs are working longer and longer hours to accommodate the increased patient load).
We will need to furlough some staff, layoff others, and everyone is going to have to make sacrifices(while their HCPs work longer hours and take on more patients, they cut 401Ks, salaries, and bonuses of HCPs, including my husband’s).
If you are not dealing with COVID-19 in your unit, then HCPs should not be wearing a mask with patients (while HCPs risk their lives treating patients, even when we did not know enough about the virus to ensure their and their families’ safety. HCPs could receive a citation on their record if they decided to wear a mask in order to protect themselves).
Everyone in all units has to wear a mask(but they don’t have enough for all HCPs so every HCP and service worker has to bring in their own masks).
These are all the drugs that we have in our hospital so triage decisions may need to be made(as certain quantities of medications dwindled, forcing HCPs to triage patients and play “god,” making life or death decisions when there were shortages. This includes devices, like ventilators, in many cases).
Drastic changes in medical protocols and bureaucratic shifts that didn’t always account for HCPs’ own health and protection left an indelible mark on Ray. With every decision that was made and rolled out, he couldn’t help but wonder, “but who’s looking out for me?” This question took up mental space in both his day-to-day personal and professional interactions – mental space that he had reserved to be fully focused on the patient when he was at work. All of this, coupled with the daily stressors of normal life (aging and ill parents, family, bills, chores, home repairs, etc…) left Ray feeling completely burnt out. He had waning energy to plan any down time, Me time, nor were the usual outlets for dealing with burnout safely available (friend outings, world travel, date nights, and more).
Healthcare Professionals are Patients, too
Ray’s experience and Jacob’s brother’s experience were not isolated instances though. News headlines during the first wave of the pandemic began touching on stories about HCPs who were exhausted in every sense with no relief in sight. One HCP went so far as to commit suicide. Given some recent statistics on HCP burnout – including that 92% of HCPs have felt burnout because of their job, and 50% have felt depressed as a result of burnout* – I think back to a question that Ray posed, which haunted my everyday thoughts, Who Saves Me?
And so, it is with heartfelt gratitude to these HCPs – like my husband, like Jacob’s brother, and so many other HCPs – that we, at Outcome Health, launch Who Saves Me? in English and Spanish, a PSA-style initiative to support HCPs who may need mental health resources and support.
To all the HCPs who are risking their lives – and mental health – everyday to keep us healthy and safe: Thank you. We see you. We are here for you. If you’re struggling with burnout, go toMHAscreening.org to check your mental health.
Mental Health America and Black Mental Wellness to Amplify the Campaign via Social Media
CHICAGO – OCTOBER 13, 2020 – Outcome Health today announced Who Saves Me?, a campaign to bring awareness to the overwhelming percentage of physicians who quietly suffer from burnout and mental health struggles. Supporting the campaign are Mental Health America (MHA), the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit promoting overall mental health, Black Mental Wellness, a virtual community dedicated to the mental health and wellness of black people of all ages.
Data aggregated from research, studies and polls on mental health issues among healthcare professionals (HCPs) reveals that HCPs may be susceptible to burnout and potential depression due to a number of conflating factors that are hitting our healthcare system, including and especially related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The vast majority of HCPs (92 percent) say that they have felt burnt out at some point because of their job; nearly 75 percent of HCPs say that the pandemic has exacerbated their own and/or their colleagues’ sense of burnout*.
Outcome Health, the healthcare innovation company reinventing Point of Care to facilitate better outcomes for patients, their loved ones and healthcare professionals, is developing Who Saves Me? visual assets highlighting HCP personal stories and will provide HCPs with links to obtaining help and support. The public service announcement-style campaign will air in both Spanish and English and is anticipated to touch an estimated two million or more viewers via social media, websites, and email communications directly to physicians and healthcare workers.
“Outcome Health is committed to providing healthcare professionals with the resources and support they need so they can continue to care for us,” explained Matt McNally, Chief Executive Officer of Outcome Health. “As we kept hearing about mounting depression in the healthcare community, we knew we had to take action by creating Who Saves Me? and partnering with organizations like Sermo and Mental Health America that are able to reach and help physicians.”
More than 40 percent of HCPs are concerned about the increased risk of contracting COVID-19 themselves or giving it to loved ones. Not only are they dealing with the exhaustion of treating a highly contagious and deadly virus, but they are also contending with longer hours, lack of proper personal protective equipment and added financial stressors like repaying student loans and pay cuts. Half (48 percent) of the HCPs surveyed said they would take advantage of mental health resources if they were offered by their employer or other organization.*
“It is concerning, though not surprising, that those on the front lines of the pandemic would be experiencing higher levels of anxiety or depression,” said Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO of Mental Health America. “We are excited to be partnering with Outcome Health on this campaign to support healthcare professionals take care of their own mental health and ensure they have easy access to tools and resources.”
Since the start of the pandemic, MHA has seen a 710 percent increase in people indicating signs of depression, and a 520 percent increase in anxiety screenings through their online screening tool. To date, more than six million people have taken free mental health screenings through www.mhascreening.org, reinforcing their mission to identify and intervene early in the disease process to avoid a point of crisis.
Outcome Health intends to carry the campaign through the end of the year and is seeking additional partner organizations that are interested in helping healthcare professionals manage their mental health.
*Leading physician insights company, Sermo, conducted all HCP research referenced.
About Outcome Health
Outcome Health is a healthcare innovation company reinventing the point of care to facilitate better outcomes for patients, their loved ones, and healthcare professionals. Through partnerships with nonprofit organizations, health advocacy groups, leading content creators and brand sponsors, Outcome Health makes critical moments more impactful by bringing relevant content into the physician’s office, where health is top of mind. Our BPA-certified digital network spans waiting, exam and infusion rooms across the country, serving impactful content when it’s most needed.