working for community health during the pandemic

Michelle Regan
David Frickman
Lynn Shizumura
July 01, 2020

The first case of COVID-19 in Hawaii was diagnosed on Feb. 26, 2020. Since then, Hawaii’s health care systems have been working hard to test and treat patients and help contain the spread of the virus.

But that’s not all. They’re problem-solving and partnering with community organizations and giving everything they can on the front lines. Here’s how hospitals are navigating health care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Queen’s Health Systems

An ICU nurse at North Hawaii Community Hospital (courtesy The Queen's Health Systems)

The Queen’s Health Systems’ 7,000 caregivers are working tirelessly to care for patients diagnosed with COVID-19 while simultaneously taking steps to minimize the virus’s spread.

To that end, patients with flu-like symptoms are being treated separately from patients seeking care in the emergency department. For those who can, Queen’s is encouraging patients to have virtual consultations with their doctors. They’ve ramped up telehealth services with thousands of visits scheduled weekly and responded to over 15,000 calls on their COVID-19 Infoline, which connects community members with health information.

“I’ve been so inspired to witness the exceptional and compassionate care that our caregivers have provided to our patients during this critical time,” says Jill Hoggard Green, president and CEO of Queen’s. “They remain deeply committed to the people of Hawaii.”

For information about the coronavirus, call the Queen’s COVID-19 Infoline at 691-2619 on O'ahu; choose option 2 to speak with a registered nurse.

Hawaii Pacific Health

The HPH COVID-19 Virtual Clinic was a trend setter. (courtesy HPH)

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hawaii Pacific Health (HPH) has worked hard to maintain the health and safety of its patients and employees while putting in place additional telehealth programs to better serve the community now and in the future.

“Telehealth has been a primary focus at Hawaii Pacific Health for quite some time and we were happy to build on that tradition. Our patients and staff have enthusiastically embraced a more convenient and efficient standard of care. During the first month of the COVID-19 pandemic, we doubled the number of telehealth visits,” says Ray Vara, HPH president and CEO.

The opening of the HPH COVID-19 Virtual Clinic, the first of its kind for any local health care provider, proved to be a popular addition to the company’s suite of telehealth services. Its purpose is to see patients remotely who may have signs or concerns about COVID-19 and are well enough to be evaluated without coming into the office.

“Providing care to more patients conveniently and safely through telehealth, complemented by a superior clinic experience, will continue to be the norm at Hawaii Pacific Health,” Vara says.

Adventist Health Castle

Adventist Health Castle associates work together to support patients and the community. (courtesy Adventist Health Castle)

As the largest emergency health services provider in Windward O'ahu, Adventist Health Castle’s staff and management knows the importance of working quickly and efficiently. In March, the hospital opened the area’s only drive-through COVID-19 testing site, which served hundreds of people.

As a Seventh-day Adventist hospital, chaplains are available to support patients who need a word of encouragement or prayer. This service was especially appreciated when the hospital adopted a no-visitor policy as a safety precaution. Instead, they provided iPads to patients so that they could safely connect with loved ones during their stay.

Adventist Health Castle also supported community causes during the outbreak, including supplying thousands of low-cost meals to youth and seniors.

The hospital stays focused through trying times. “Our mission remains the same,” says Kathryn Raethel, president of Adventist Health Castle. “We will respond appropriately and we’ll get through this together.” 

Hero photo courtesy The Queen's Heath Systems


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