Delivery of Care

Entering a brave new world of communications in health care

An interview with Jessica McCarthy, the new VP of Marketing and Communications at Care New England

Photo courtesy of Care New England

Jessica McCarthy, the new Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Care New England.

By Richard Asinof
Posted 4/27/20
A conversation with Jessica McCarthy, the new Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Care New England, who began her new position the week of March 11.
How will the financial and business models change for health systems in Rhode Island, as elective surgeries have been curtailed and will reopen slowly in the coming weeks? How will empathy be measured as part of the metrics for outcomes with the rapid growth of telemedicine across numerous health care service platforms? How are nurses and doctors and health care workers across different health systems collaborating around patient care in the world of a pandemic? What kinds of adjustments will be required by the modeling underway to measure annual medical costs as part of the analysis using data from the All Payers Claims Database? Who will be responsibility for advocating for interoperability between different telehealth software platforms?
When stakeholders met in January to discuss the long-term statewide health plan for Rhode Island, prepared in collaboration with the Rhode Island Foundation, there was scant discussion about how a worldwide pandemic could change the parameters around health care delivery, the economy and the need for investment in public health infrastructure. Now, the world as we know has been dramatically changed, and the world to come will also be dramatically different.
The question is: Does there need to be a whole new plan drawn up to look at the future statewide health plan for Rhode Island, jettisoning the current plan as being outdated. And, is there a need to develop a new kind of stakeholder participation to the discussion, one where it is not so top-heavy with CEOs with vested interests in preserving the status quo?

PROVIDENCE – Everything in the world of health care has been turned upside down by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, including the way that government leaders have chosen to communicate with residents of cities, states and the nation. Witness the deluge of daily news briefings, from the White House to the State House in Rhode Island.

In our world of social and physical distancing, where the normal day-to-day interactions with other people, including family, friends and colleagues, now occur on a virtual platform, it has created a whole new set of challenges not just for elected officials but for business leaders – and particularly for hospitals and health systems, where health care workers are on the front lines battling a virulent disease, as the number of cases and deaths continue to mount.

ConvergenceRI, in one of the last face-to-face interviews conducted before social distancing was mandated, had sat down to talk with Jessica McCarthy, Care New England’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications, who began her new job the week of March 11, saying it was “an interesting time to jump in” to a new position.

Here are a series of questions ConvergenceRI sent to McCarthy following the in-person meeting, to begin a conversation about communications challenges in a world swept away by a pandemic.

ConvergenceRI: What prompted your shift to using video to tell your stories at Care New England? What has been the response?
The way of the world today is fast-paced and ever changing. Getting someone’s attention with a motion-filled video is proven to both attract and retain attention better than the written word in many instances.

At a time when we have content-overload via Facetime and video news meetings I believe the desire to sit and read will continue to decline, to a point.

[See links below to a number of videos produced by Care New England to reinforce messaging around the delivery of care.]

ConvergenceRI: In a recent CEO newsletter to Care New England employees, Dr. Jim Fanale talked about the shift to telemedicine and what it means in the immediate future in health care. What do you see as the long-term ramifications in terms of how outcomes are measured and visits and follow-ups are benchmarked?
I believe that many elements of telemedicine have been brewing for quite some time. In today’s busy lives, many end up missing their yearly or routine exams because they cannot find the time to go in person. Whether that’s an excuse is another story, but I do believe that some types of care will remain a big opportunity for telemed.

Of course, seeing the medical professional in person is meaningful in many settings, but there is also a clear need for more frequent, and therefore digital interaction in many cases.

Take, for example, the already proven use cases of virtual support groups or behavioral health care, especially when a world-class facility like Butler Hospital is not in your backyard for frequent in-person visits.

ConvergenceRI: Are there new interventions being planned regarding moms and new-born babies at a time when social interactions are restricted, to deal with maternal depression and isolation?
Our professionals that normally educate and interact with our moms continue to do so, but with a very heightened awareness of this new stress placed on families bringing a baby into the home.

A new baby is an extremely stressful time, and often we try to help each other with our shows of joy and visiting with gifts and well wishes. As that cannot be done at this time, we are absolutely taking that into account when caring for our new parent population.

ConvergenceRI: How has Care New England been able to provide the emotional support for nurses and doctors on the front lines during the pandemic?
Our expert teams here have amazingly provided a number of free counseling and mental health services to our staff. This is additional to the normal employee assistance programs that are setup, and have recently been extended to include other CNE Cares measures, like setting up an employee relief fund and other assistance.

ConvergenceRI: I saw that deliveries may be shifted from Kent to Women and Infants. Is that correct? Can you talk about the reasons why that decision was made?
This has not been done, but rather is part of a very extensive possible route of future action, if Rhode Island should get hit by a heavy pandemic surge.

It would be done to help us more easily staff COVID teams at one location and birthing teams at another, for example, which is very logical if we get hit with a surge.

ConvergenceRI: Do folks at Care New England have enough personal protective equipment? Is that a constant struggle to keep the flow of PPE coming in?
I believe that PPE supply will remain a constant struggle across the nation and maybe the globe, but we have a team of true experts making sure that we adhere to the CDC and local regulations so that we can best protect our staff and patients both now and in the event of a surge.

Additionally, all staff are now asked to wear cloth masks, even those not working with patients. And, patients coming in for care are asked to wear a face covering as well. Of course, if they do not have anything we will help.

ConvergenceRI: How has the peer recovery efforts through The Providence Center changed during the pandemic? Has there been new software adapted and adopted to enable clients to stay in touch virtually?
Absolutely, our teams at TPC are doing an excellent job of staying in close contact with their group. As you may know, our coaches interact closely with a group, and this dynamic has remained unchanged. The method of connecting is dependent upon what works best for the patient, be that a telephone call or video visit, etc.

ConvergenceRI: What haven’t I asked, should I have asked, that you would like to talk about?
Just that anyone can call 401CareNow, even if they do not currently have a provider, and the access team there will set you up with an appointment. Do not hesitate to get medical care during these unprecedented times, call us and we can get you scheduled so that a medical professional can evaluate you.

© | subscribe | contact us | report problem | About | Advertise

powered by creative circle media solutions

Join the conversation

Want to get ConvergenceRI
in your inbox every Monday?

Type of subscription (choose one):

We will contact you with subscription details.

Thank you for subscribing!

We will contact you shortly with subscription details.