Ten Ways Healthcare Systems Can Operate Effectively during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Ten Ways Healthcare Systems Can Operate Effectively during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Updated May 1, 2020

Purpose of this Guidance

CDC is listening to and learning from the experiences of healthcare systems as they respond to COVID-19. This document provides practical approaches that can be used to protect healthcare personnel (HCP), patients, and communities.


Healthcare system and healthcare facility decision makers

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Worker Safety and Support

  1. Understand and execute current infection prevention and control (IPC) practices for COVID-19.
  2. Develop protocols for HCP to monitor themselves for fever and symptoms of COVID-19, restrict them from work when sick or post exposure, and to safely allow return to work after an exposure and/or suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection.
  3. Establish a plan for providing additional support for HCPexternal icon, considering aspects such as mental health, parentingexternal icon, meals,external icon and non-punitive sick policies.
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Patient Service Delivery

  1. Help your HCP become well-versed in evidence-based care of patients with COVID-19, including guidance provided by CDC, National Institutes of Health,external icon the Infectious Diseases Society of Americaexternal icon, the World Health Organizationexternal icon, and the Surviving Sepsis Campaign.external icon
  2. Understand the guidance for discharging a patient with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 from the hospital to home or to a long-term care facility.
  3. Use telehealthexternal icon strategies when feasible to provide high-quality patient care and reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the healthcare setting. Consider implementing a phone advice line to triage patients and to address questions and concerns from possible COVID-19 patients.
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Data Streams for Situational Awareness

  1. Maintain awareness of the COVID-19 situation in the state, city, and facility. Provide access to evidence-based guidance for caring for patients with COVID-19.
  2. Report hospital capacity data to HHS Protect using one of the approved mechanisms described in the HHS COVID-19 Guidance for Hospital Reporting and FAQspdf icon.
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Facility Practices

  1. Strengthen your facility’s response mechanisms by becoming familiar with pandemic, COVID-19 specific, and crisis standards of care
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  1. Develop and maintain a communication planexternal icon for your HCP, patients, and the community. Consider including virtual town halls, daily huddles with local leadership, calls with partners, emails and phone conferences for staff, media briefs, and others.