Covid-19 Online Resources and Education

“The best part of learning is sharing what you know”

Vaughn K. Lauer, Author

Introduction                

What does COVID-19 mean for me?

How will COVID-19 affect my clinical practice?

How can I best support my patients?

And protect my own health?

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, my head has been filled with many questions.  As a physiotherapist working in an acute hospital, I am used to caring for patients with respiratory conditions and am accustomed to working in a critical care setting. 

However, that does not mean that I am any less daunted by this novel disease.  From speaking to HSCP working in other settings across Ireland, I know I am not alone.  The outbreak of COVID-19 is without a doubt a massive challenge for all HSCP, especially for our many colleagues who have been redeployed to unfamiliar roles in unfamiliar settings.  

Thankfully, there is help out there!  HSCP can and should harness the potential of online education and resource sharing to enable rapid upskilling.   

General Resources

The first stop for all HSCP on COVID-19 should be the HSE’s Health Protection and Surveillance Centre.  As well as general guidance for health professionals, this site provides links to the current case count in Ireland, advice for the general public, and posters and resources for use in healthcare settings. 

A video on the correct donning and doffing PPE is presented and is essential viewing for all frontline staff.  This video can be found on hseland.ie along with further guidance on hand hygiene and infection control.

The WHO and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control also provide excellent general guidance and updates at an international and European level, while the Cochrane library and research journals listed below have COVID-19 resource centres with up-to-date and emerging research evidence. 

For those HSCP deployed to manage patients in critical care and ICU, the Society of Critical Care Medicine provides a free online education programme: ‘Critical Care for Non-ICU Clinicians’.  

The HSE Critical Care Programme has resources available online for staff being redeployed to Critical Care.  These include an orientation manual and free online education modules.  While these are designed for nursing staff, some sections are applicable and valuable to HSCP. 

The Health Education England (HEE) e-Learning for Healthcare site also has a Coronavirus Disease Programme, which is now free to access without registration.   

If you are looking for further clinical guidelines, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has released a number of rapid guidelines and evidence reviews to support healthcare staff. 

Of particular interest is their rapid guideline for managing adults requiring critical care during the COVID-19 pandemic

In addition, the HSE has launched a Clinical Guidance and Evidence repository for COVID-19.  This provides a repository of the latest research evidence to equip clinicians in Ireland to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. It includes clinical guidance, evidence summaries and an online facility to request a rapid evidence review in relation to specific clinical questions regarding COVID-19. 

Another central repository to be launched this week is from the National HSCP Office. This will enable a sharing of COVID and non-COVID resources with the intention of reducing duplication of effort for HSCP at this time.

Learning from the Italian COVID-19 Experience

As COVID-19 is a novel disease, there is huge value in connecting with countries like Italy, in the peak of the pandemic, to gain from the emerging learning there. 

The Pediatrica Intensiva podcast gives a great insight into the Italian experience.  It includes interviews with intensivists about the realities of managing the COVID-19 outbreak and caring for critically ill patients. 

The International Society for Quality in Healthcare also has a webinar and podcast which shares the experience of Dr Francesco Venneri, a clinical risk manager and emergency front line worker in Tuscany.

These recommendations are not exhaustive and we welcome any suggestions you have on general resources that could assist HSCP at this time. Please share using the comment box below.

Stay tuned for our next Blog on profession-specific on-line resources.

– this blog was written by Éadaoin O’Hanlon on behalf of the eHealth HSCP Advisory Group.

Brave the Wilderness 1

Just as Penicillin was the wonder drug to emerge from WWII, perhaps we’ll look back on the COVID-19 Pandemic as the inflection point for teleHealth.”

Dr Mark Lewis, MD @marklewismd

Introduction

eHealth is a broad term which refers to the use of information and communication technologies in healthcare. In late 2018, digital leaders, representing the HSCP group and the National HSCP Office, came together to lead eHealth developments for the health and social care professions.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, health systems are looking to rapidly expand the use of digital solutions across a number of different care areas and settings.

In this, the first in a series of eHealth-related blogs, we will set out the starting point for those of you currently grappling with deploying this complex service change at speed and, in particular, we will explore teleHealth considerations.

These unprecedented times  require disruptive thinking and innovation.

* * * * * * * *

Digital Solutions – the Starting Point

Digitally enabled services offer huge opportunities to continue to provide high quality care, reaching patients in the community. In addition, for those HSCPs in isolation, digital tools can enable them to continue to work effectively.  

Digital solutions always begin as well thought-through quality improvements, underpinned by sound Quality Improvement (QI) principles including a) being clear on the intended change and b) establishing how it will be determined that a change is indeed an improvement.

Technology serves as an Enabler, not the disruptor. It is important, too, to consider measures which will demonstrate improvement.

From our experience, keeping the service users at the centre of the plans is vital to ensure any change ultimately improves experience and outcomes for them.

HSCP are well versed in QI methodology with large numbers now trained and routinely leading QI projects in their work environments.

* * * * * * * *

Our Top Five Considerations for teleHealth Solutions

Prior to COVID-19, the need for teleHealth was outlined in Sláintecare action 10.3.3. To provide teleHealth solutions to support delivery of care in the community closer to patients and their families’. 

Aligning with this action, the HSE Service Plan 2020 has prioritised the adoption of a  telehealth strategy.  

Many HSCPs have already begun to design and implement teleHealth solutions and there has been a definite acceleration in the past fortnight.

So, what are the top five considerations for teleHealth solutions?

  1. Telephone vs Video consultation. Consider what is actually needed. Not all clinical interactions will need or can be delivered via video consultation, while a combination of both might be needed in some areas.

What use-cases are appropriate for Video consultations?

  • Routine chronic disease check-ups
  • Counselling and psychological support
  • Any condition where trade-off between attending in person and staying at home favours the latter

When should Video generally not be used?

  • Potentially serious, high-risk conditions needing extensive physical examination
  • If internal examination (e.g. gynae) cannot be deferred
  • Co-morbidities affecting ability to use the technology (e.g. confusion)
  • Serious anxieties about the technology (unless relatives are on hand to help)
  • Some hard-of-hearing patients may find audio difficult but, if they can lip-read or use chat, video may be better

Credit to Professor Trisha Greenhalgh on behalf of the IRIHS research team, University of Oxford https://q.health.org.uk/event/video-consultations-how-to-set-them-up-well-fast/

  1. Choose a solution that meets privacy and security requirements, and ensure that you have a secure network/wifi connection. The quality of the connection is also important – better connections mean better consultations! 
  1. Liaise with your ICT department about requirements for set up – do you have a laptop or PC with speakers, microphone and webcam? Will you need a headset to keep hands free for writing or interacting with patient resources? 
  1. Ensure that you design and plan the QI process for your teleHealth clinics before you start. Don’t jump in to making calls. Consider: 
  • Where will clinics take place? Is the environment set up appropriately? 
  • How will teleHealth clinics be scheduled? 
  • What information will the patient need in advance to prepare them for the appointment? 
  • How will consent be obtained and recorded?  Measures taken in response to Coronavirus involving the use of personal data, including health data, should be necessary and proportionate. Decisions in this regard should be informed by the guidance and/or directions of public health authorities or other relevant authorities. See https://www.dataprotection.ie/en/news-media/blogs/data-protection-and-covid-19 for further information.
  • How will you document the consultation? 
  • How will follow up be arranged? 
  • Consider what the patient will have to do to take part, you should aim to minimise the set up requirements on their part as much as possible as digital literacy can vary. 
  1. Ensure that HSCPs delivering clinics have appropriate training on use of any new technologies. 

* * * * * * * *

The National HSCP Office is compiling an online repository to collate and share eHealth and clinical HSCP resources to reduce duplication of effort at this time. Watch out for updates, it will be live on 3rd April, 2020.

This post was written by the eHealth HSCP Advisory Group.* Stay tuned – our next blog will address eLearning opportunities.

(*Members include Marie Byrne, Heather Cronin, Meabh Smith, Deirdre Gilchriest, Claire Browne, Joanne Dowds, Julie O’Connell, Fiona Maye, Orla Maguire, Ruth Reidy, Kate Murphy, Sarah Moore, Eileen Heffernan, Paul Ryan, Éadaoin O’Hanlon, Siobhan Keohane, Alison Enright).

“Move fast - Speed trumps perfection”  

Michael Ryan, WHO

Do you need information and advice on COVID-19? Go to www.hse.ie/coronavirus

Welcome to HSCP Share

“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.”

Margaret J Wheatley, Author & Speaker

A very warm welcome to HSCPshare.com, a new format for connecting Health and Social Care Professionals (HSCP) with one another, all 16,000 of us throughout the Health Services!

Set up by the HSE’s National HSCP Office, we hope this new format will add to our existing communications, helping to share information and learning from within and outside the HSCP community.

The HSCP Share Blog has been in the planning process for a little while and special thanks to the HSCP Communications Advisory Group and the eHealth HSCP Advisory Group for their invaluable assistance.

The process was somewhat accelerated in the past fortnight, though, as we found ourselves in extraordinary times, dealing with the new reality of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Very quickly, it became clear that now is the time for sharing and inspiration, while we deal with unprecedented challenges which require new thinking and approaches.

Our five main aims for this blog are to:

  • Share knowledge and promote organisational learning
  • Hear points of view from HSCP and other HCPs in practice, academia and management
  • Assist in developing networks of practice
  • Raise visibility of HSCP service impacts and consider opportunities for further impact
  • Enable collective dialogue

You can follow the blog by going to www.HSCPshare.com and adding your email address to the ‘Follow’ box.

We’re also on twitter – @WeHSCPs. Please do follow, share and contribute – this is your opportunity to showcase your work, its impact and to learn from others.

– Jackie Reed, National HSCP Lead

Do you need information and advice on COVID-19? Go to www.hse.ie/coronavirus