Public Health

How health systems rise to meet challenges in pandemic’s 2nd year

Kevin B. O'Reilly , Senior News Editor

Well into its second year, the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to test U.S. health systems seeking to rebound from 2020, ensure vaccine uptake, battle physician burnout and innovate to improve care delivery.

What you need to know about COVID-19

Explore top articles, videos, research highlights and more from the AMA—your source for clear, evidence-based news and guidance during the pandemic.

Throughout this challenging year, the AMA has recognized the outstanding efforts of AMA Health System Program members. The program provides enterprise solutions to equip health system leadership, physicians and care teams with resources to help drive the future of medicine.

Below are just a few highlights of health system excellence, as captured in news articles published on the AMA website. Recognition is one benefit of the being an AMA Health System Program member.

  1. Marshfield Clinic lab plays vital role in CDC’s COVID-19 effort

    1. History books written about the COVID-19 pandemic won’t be complete unless they mention the pivotal role played by the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, which is part of Wisconsin’s Marshfield Clinic Health System.
    2. Learn more about how the institute’s scientists test and process some 10,000 swabs a week, helping the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) both track the progression of the disease and prove the effectiveness of the mRNA vaccines.
  2. Pandemic pivots Ochsner Health to new role: PPE manufacturer

    1. Ochsner Health has long been an innovator in patient care and is recognized as an early adopter in digital health tools such as telehealth and smartphone apps. Now its pioneering spirit is taking the Louisiana health system in an entirely different direction: manufacturing.
  3. How Hattiesburg Clinic gets patients back for 2nd vaccine dose

    1. Hattiesburg Clinic in Mississippi had a head start on addressing COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and educating patients by participating in the Moderna clinical trial. Hattiesburg Clinic—the largest private multispecialty clinic in South Mississippi with more than 300 physicians and clinicians—continues to find ways to reach their patients and ensure access to COVID-19 vaccines.
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    3. Learn from Hattiesburg Clinic CEO Bryan Batson, MD, about the health system’s consistent peer-to-peer efforts for educating physicians and other health professionals to inform patients and colleagues. 
  4. Straight talk vital for Virginia Mason Franciscan Health’s vaccine mandate

    1. Virginia Mason Franciscan Health was a head of Washington state in requiring COVID-19 vaccination. Leading the effort to get staff vaccinated is AMA member Christopher Baliga, MD, an infectious disease specialist and medical director for infection prevention and employee health at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health. He spoke with AMA about how the health system’s successful effort.
  5. Open conversations help Atlantic Health doctors handle COVID-19 stressors

    1. With the COVID-19 pandemic came an increased focus on mental health and resiliency of physicians and other health professionals. For Atlantic Health System, that has meant spearheading work to help physicians endure the stress caused by the pandemic through debrief style sessions that embrace peer support and the impact of leadership.
  6. Physician leaders, patient access drive Privia Health’s ACO success

    1. COVID-19’s deadly emergence was the health care story of 2020, but recently released results showing how the accountable care organizations (ACOs) participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) last year managed to deliver high-quality care amid a pandemic certainly merits attention.
    2. A significant chapter in that story is the way the physician-led ACOs belonging to the Privia Quality Network delivered high-value, cost-efficient care to patients in Georgia, Maryland, Texas, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
  7. Four essentials drive University of Iowa doctor’s health care AI fix

    1. The IDx-DR diabetic retinopathy diagnostic exam solution created by physician-scientist and AMA member Michael Abramoff, MD, PhD, is the first autonomous augmented intelligence (AI) system authorized by the Food and Drug Administration. It is autonomous in that a computer makes the diagnosis, not a human. Dr. Abramoff is a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and practices ophthalmology with University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics.
    2. In a separate interview with the AMA, Baptist Health Chief Medical Information Officer Brett A. Oliver, MD, discussed the Kentucky health system’s approach to implementing health care AI.
  8. How Henry Ford embraced distance learning for diabetes prevention

    1. When the pandemic took hold a year ago, in-person diabetes prevention program (DPP) lifestyle change programs across the nation were paused. A month later, some cohorts were able to resume classes through distance learning while others were able to regroup by June 2020.
    2. While the transition to distance learning took some time for Henry Ford Health System, they were able to successfully overcome barriers to provide diabetes prevention classes to their participants.
  9. Olmsted Medical Center ob-gyn works to sway vaccine-hesitant pregnant patients

    1. The COVID-19 mRNA vaccines do not increase risk of miscarriage, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analysis of data from the pregnancy registry of its v-safe after vaccination health checker surveillance system. The vaccines are safe and encouraged, as there is an increased risk of severe complications associated with COVID-19 infection during pregnancy.
    2. Find out how Diana M. Gillman, MD, an ob-gyn with the Olmsted Medical Center in Rochester, Minnesota, has been pushing this message for months and addressing patients’ concerns.
    3. Related Coverage

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  10. Permanente “chief people officer” strives to keep patients, colleagues well

    1. Permanente Medical Groups have been recognized as innovators in promoting wellness and helping patients stay healthy. For family physician T. Ruth Chang, MD, MPH, these efforts extend to her colleagues and staff as well.
    2. Learn more about the efforts of Dr. Chang, the chief people officer and vice president at Northwest Permanente (NWP), recognized as an “Oregon Healthiest Employer” for six straight years by the Portland Business Journal.

Find out more about the other medical groups moving medicine to support patient health and the medical profession.

The AMA Health System Program offers partners unique resources that improve outcomes, elevate recognition and drive value. The AMA Insight Network helps AMA Health System Program members gain early access to innovative ideas, get feedback from their peers, network, and learn about pilot opportunities. Learn more.