Community Leadership During a Fast-Changing Pandemic: Setting Up the COVID-19 Call Center at Yale New Haven Health
// By Marcia Simon, APR //
Crisis management is a standard part of hospital communication preparedness, but who could ever have anticipated the coronavirus pandemic? How do you communicate to your community and patients about a pandemic when nobody anywhere has all the answers?
Yale New Haven Health clinicians and ancillary staff quickly came together, launching a call center to handle the barrage of questions — from sick patients, healthy patients, doctors, nurses, employees, community members, business owners, and anyone else concerned about the growing spread of COVID-19.
The healthcare system encompasses five hospitals; 6,685 medical staff; and more than 26,000 employees across inpatient and ambulatory services in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Westchester County in New York, where one of the nation’s first coronavirus cluster outbreaks occurred.
“Aside from being proactive in managing an intervention in the communities we serve with the standard steps that other hospitals are taking — have employees work from home when possible, canceling meetings, canceling elective procedures and nonessential ambulatory visits — we quickly set up a call center as we have done in the past with small outbreaks and local issues,” says Christian Pettker, MD, associate chief quality officer for Yale Medicine and Yale New Haven Health.
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