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Top 10 HealthLeaders Clinical Care Coronavirus Stories of 2020

Analysis  |  By Christopher Cheney  
   December 28, 2020

Read some of the best clinical care stories that HealthLeaders produced about the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, HealthLeaders produced more than 100 clinical care stories related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The greatest U.S. public health crisis since the 1918 influenza pandemic, the COVID-19 pandemic dominated the clinical care landscape in 2020. At HealthLeaders, clinical care coverage of the pandemic spanned dozens of topics, including critical care, rural medicine, medical ethics, home-based medical care, and rising to the challenges of coronavirus patient surges.

The following is a list of the Top 10 HealthLeaders clinical care coronavirus stories of the year.

1. Medical ethics: "4 Ethical Dilemmas for Healthcare Organizations During the COVID-19 Pandemic"

In March, there had already been rationing of coronavirus testing, and healthcare providers were bracing for care rationing such as mechanical ventilation. Medical ethicist James Tabery, PhD, shared his perspectives on rationing of care and vaccines as well as ethical dilemmas for healthcare workers.

2. Home healthcare: "Home-Based Medical Care in High Demand During Coronavirus Pandemic"

The coronavirus pandemic has increased demand for home-based medical care, according to the chief medical officer of Landmark Health. In July, Landmark reported a spike in demand for its in-home medical services, with the organization's 2020 revenue projected to rise 230%.

3. Care rationing: "Coronavirus Care Rationing: 'It's Not Just About Ventilators'"

In addition to ventilators, there are four primary care rationing scenarios during the coronavirus pandemic, a bioethicist told HealthLeaders in May. Particularly in hotspots such as New York, the early phase of the pandemic prompted triage and rationing of care "at almost every level," said Christine Cassel, MD, a bioethicist and adjunct professor at UCSF Medical School in San Francisco, and a former president and CEO of the National Quality Forum.

4. Rural medicine: "6 Steps for Rural Hospitals to Rise to the Coronavirus Challenge"

In May, the president and CEO of Batesville, Indiana–based Margaret Mary Health shared how the organization's 25-bed critical access hospital coped with a surge of coronavirus patients. Successful strategies to address the patient surge included formation of a response team, increasing bed capacity, and securing essential equipment.

5. Lessons learned: "Prepared in Raleigh: 8 Lessons Wakemed Learned From the Coronavirus Pandemic"

In June, a pair of physician leaders at Wakemed Health & Hospitals in North Carolina discussed how the health system had prepared for the coronavirus pandemic. WakeMed was spared from an influx of coronavirus patients during the spring surge, which gave the health system an opportunity to effectively plan for future pandemic challenges.

6. Long haulers: "Coronavirus 'Long Hauler' Care Model"

A significant number of COVID-19 patients have experienced symptoms for weeks or months after the acute phase of their illness has passed. Valhalla, New York-based Westchester Medical Center has established a comprehensive clinical program to treat these long-hauler patients.

7. Specialty care: "Coronavirus: Speech Language Pathologists Playing Key Frontline Role"

Speech language pathologists are providing essential rehabilitation services to patients recovering from serious cases of COVID-19. For example, coronavirus patients who are placed on mechanical ventilation often require help from these specialists to restore the ability to communicate and swallow.

8. Critical care: "ECMO Life Support 'Last Ditch' Intervention for Coronavirus Patients"

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) provides life support for severely ill coronavirus patients suffering respiratory failure. At Michigan Medicine, more than half of coronavirus patients who undergo ECMO are expected to survive.

9. Respiratory therapists: "Coronavirus: Providing Respiratory Therapy on Frontline of the Pandemic"

A respiratory therapist who traveled to New York City during The Big Apple's coronavirus patient surge in the spring shares her story. With respiratory distress common among seriously ill coronavirus patients, respiratory therapists are at the tip of the spear on the pandemic frontline.

10. Patient surge success: "Coronavirus: Northwell's 10-Step Recipe for Addressing Patient Surges"

Northwell Health, which features 23 hospitals and 800 ambulatory sites in and around New York City, treated about 20,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients during the spring surge. Prime strategies and initiatives Northwell used during the spring surge included centralized decision-making, building surge capacity, and creating a clinical advisory board.

Christopher Cheney is the senior clinical care​ editor at HealthLeaders.

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