In a story of the Spanish-flu published many years ago in the New Yorker, journalist Malcolm Gladwell showed how quickly a pandemic may reach a critical point. The story of the virus became a backdrop for the story of fragility of human lives but also of resolve of the heroes who save lives. A few years later the same author described his mission as presentation of stories enabling new insight into our own behaviours and those of the society.
The same reference can be made to our times. The current extraordinary circumstances may become the beginning of amazing stories. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic, a small change may spark a revolution in thinking, in how we act or in the perceptions of our roles within the society. And our impact upon the future.
The current epidemic has not reached the scale comparable to that of the pandemic spreading a century ago, but it has already influenced our attitudes and actions. We have found ourselves in a new situation. The crisis hit economies both in the supply and demand aspect, affecting multiple industries and sectors.
I have been active in health care sector for 30 years but I was surprised by the amazing ability of all of us to adjust almost instantly to radical disturbances of our ‘normal’ lives. Closures of many economy sectors blocked access to some services. However, being critical for human health, medical services had to be accessible. Patients who have not been infected with SARS-CoV-2, have not stopped to suffer from other diseases and have to be helped. The healthcare industry could not be closed like other sectors were.
The private medical care sector rose to the challenge. We ensured constant access to health care services, while keeping the most stringent safety standards. Lux Med did an immense amount of work to prepare the company for uninterrupted operations and provision of services across all of its facilities. We created new procedures and provided our facilities with protective devices and equipment. We introduced into our work model some mechanisms guaranteeing an even better safety level for the sick and for our staff. We implemented a care model called ‘Safe care that you need’, enhancing the role of telemedical consultations and consequently helping to avoid epidemiological risks related to movement and direct contact.
During remote consultations, doctors can issue e-prescriptions, sick-leave certificates or medical-examination referrals, and have access to patients’ medical records. Remote consultations also offer patients the ability to choose consultations from among all doctors of a given medical specialism across Poland who provide such type of advice. To meet the surge in demand for telemedical consultations, we assigned more and more groups of doctors to work remotely. Thanks to this development, Lux Med patients are now able to choose medical consultations across almost 40 medical specialisms. The new model of work allowed us to rise to the challenge and guarantee that in these challenging times, nobody is left without proper care.
Owing to swift response of the staff of the Lux Med Group, patients have been able to take advantage all the time of services such as those offered by oncological hospitals, that provide diagnostics, chemotherapy and specialist consultations. We focused on patients in need of particular protection. We assigned facilities and blood-collection facilities for pregnant women. In accordance with WHO guideline, we introduced triage – a preliminary medical interview in all channels of contacts with patients. Thanks to all those measures, despite the epidemic, patients have still been able to contact medical facilities and obtain the required aid. We set up a dedicated team monitoring on ongoing basis the development of epidemiological situation, checking changes in the regulations and recommendations of state authorities, and coordinating action across all our organisational units. At the same time, we provide dedicated training to employees and implement other organisational solutions, such as enhanced antiseptic protection procedures.
Just like many other private service providers, Lux Med has offered financial support in combating Covid-19. We have delivered protection devices to public hospitals, outpatient clinics and care homes, and such personal protective equipment as face masks, visors and gloves. In attempt to help employees laid off owing to epidemic, under our Help Package, we offer several months of free medical care to those who – alongside their jobs – have also lost their prepaid medical-care packages. Several hundred people have already taken advantage of this package.
Since the declaration of the state of epidemic, we have been carrying out educational and supportive actions. To share our knowledge, we have developed a reference tool kit for employers with guidelines for safe return to work. We also prepared guidebooks on safety procedures in medical facilities. To secure more comfortable access to information, Lux Med has launched another contact channel, besides the telephone hotline, our Patient Portal and mobile application. Experts can provide information by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
All those examples demonstrate the responsible attitudes of Lux Med staff, which delivers the required assistance and care to patients all the time, despite the crisis situation.