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One Year Later: AdventHealth Looks Back at How the Coronavirus Pandemic Changed the Practice of Medicine For the Better

Photo: Linnette Johnson
Photo: Linnette Johnson

The hospital system has treated 90,000 patients for coronavirus and distributed 50,000 COVID-19 vaccines since last March 11.

AdventHealth Central Florida Division CEO Randy Haffner says the pandemic has changed how doctors and nurses deliver care starting with telemedicine that was used to connect patients with their families.

Haffner says some of the restrictions around practicing medicine across state lines and reimbursement for virtual care were lifted in order to encourage the use of technology.

“And what we saw was when those things were dialed back, it went from about 3 to 4 percent of our patients to about 70, 80 percent.”

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Haffner says about 25 to 30 percent of patients now opt to use those online tools instead of receiving in-person care. He predicts telemedicine will only grow in popularity over time. 

He says he also expects collaboration between hospitals and a reliance on scientist doctors at hospitals to develop best practices to continue beyond the pandemic.

Chief Nursing Officer Linnette Johnson says looking back on the past year, her nurses also relied more on telemedicine than ever before, using iPads and virtual rounds to connect with patients’ families. 

Johnson says they also learned how to provide more culturally competent care to patients from traditionally underserved communities that were hardest hit by the virus. 

“All of our nurses receive diversity training. But there’s something to be said to be able to speak to you in your native language, to understanding cultural beliefs or religious opportunities that help us not to delay care.”

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She says simple gestures like adjusting a person’s meal plan in accordance with their religious beliefs can build trust and make treatment plans more successful. 

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.