COVID-19 and Its Impact On Hospital Technology – Where Do We Go From Here?
OakBend Medical Center’s Information Technology (IT) Department has been working almost around the clock to keep the hospital up-to-date on everything it needs to continue functioning during the pandemic. We sat down with Tim McCarty, Vice President of Support Services and head of the IT Department to find out what OakBend was doing to help with the COVID-19 technology updates needed to handle the suspected increased number of patients with a decreased number of staff working on campus.
• How has COVID-19 impacted the hospital’s use of technology?
o The use of technology has increased dramatically. We have added remote meetings, iPads for patients to talk to their family since they are not able to visit in person, and we are keeping the hospital running from remote locations.
• Does remote working seems feasible for the hospital? And, if so, who can easily work from home without being in the hospital every day?
o Yes, it is feasible. Any person that does not have to interact with a patient directly can work remotely.
• What about any classes that staff needs to take for certification?
o With remote meeting software and the ability to sign onto the hospital network from anywhere you have connectivity, you can get training.
• Do you see the use of telehealth continuing? If so, why?
o Absolutely. I think the patients like the immediate help and not having to travel when you do not feel well. It is like calling a help center and with the hour you get a call back and never leave the house.
• What do you see changing in the work environment in the future, not just for the hospital, but for other businesses as well?
o I see a larger number of employees working from home. This eliminates the need for space in a building, parking, and reduces the travel time for employees.
Tim McCarty has been an executive with OakBend Medical for almost 13 years.