COVID-19 Testing Innovation Series

NRHI, with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, offers opportunities for ongoing collaboration and resource sharing through our Innovation Series. The Innovation Series brings testing site leaders together to learn from one another and share successes and challenges.

From February through August 2021, the series will focus on use of COVID testing to support reopening of schools. Past events focused on preparing for inclement weather, testing vulnerable populations, and ensuring a positive patient experience.

UPCOMING EVENTS

COVID-19 Testing to Support Reopening of Schools:
A National Forum for Regional Leaders

According to the US Census Bureau, close to 93% of households with school-aged children are participating in distance learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Disparities are emerging as low-income families have less access to online resources and having children home from school has had a negative economic impact as many parents have been forced to leave their jobs to be home with children.

Schools, public health departments, and healthcare providers are coming together to determine how to reopen schools safely. To aid these efforts, the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI), with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, is hosting a bi-weekly Innovation Series focused on COVID-19 testing to support the reopening of schools. We will hear from leaders in education, public health, and healthcare sharing successes, plans, and needs for successful implementation.

Participants will leave the sessions with:

  • an understanding of how different school systems are utilizing Covid-19 tests to support safe reopening
  • ideas for establishing the right partnerships and policies to enable large scale testing in schools
  • ideas for engaging students and parents to support testing efforts
  • resources, reports, and playbooks designed to support school reopening

Join us Tuesdays from 2:00-3:00 EST!

Each session will highlight an organization supporting the reopening of schools through Covid-19 testing.  Roundtable discussion to follow providing a forum for exchange of information and resources.

Who should attend?

Leaders and staff from schools and universities, health systems, public health, community-based organizations, FQHCs, labs, and pharmacies

This event is being co-sponsored by the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement and The Rockefeller Foundation.  The views expressed by the speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors.

Access recordings by topic:

December 1st, 2020

Return to School and Work – Scaling Rapid Testing

Key take-aways

 First presenter presenter during the final session of the three-part Innovation Series was Jennifer Unger, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of California Keck School of Medicine and Principal Investigator on a study with The Rockefeller Foundation to develop a testing protocol for K-12 schools, Dr. Unger focus is on the Los Angeles County, one of the most diverse and largest school systems in the Country. Qualitative research including interviews are being conducted to inform what will work in the real world. Interviews will help identify what to expect regarding receptivity of children to be tested and who will be willing to administer the tests. They are anticipating multiple challenges including limited availability of tests, how to handle the transport to lab and resulting processes, and staff to conduct the testing. Her team expects to have a report to help guide others early in 2021.

Second presenter was Tommy Thompson, former Wisconsin Governor and HHS Secretary and Interim President of the University of Wisconsin, spoke to strategies used across the university system to keep students and staff safe while keeping the University open. Regular rapid antigen testing has resulted in a dramatic improvement in positivity rates- from 22% to less than 3% across all campuses. With this improvement, the current focus to combat the spread of the virus is to ramp up testing even more. The success at the University has attracted attention of the current administration as well as the Biden team providing the opportunity to showcase the effectiveness of widespread and frequent rapid testing and the need for resources to support this approach.

Key take-aways include:

1.“Testing Works,” and when combined with mask wearing, distancing, and quarantining can effectively reduce the spread of COVID-19

  • Initial antigen tests, or rapid point of care testing, combined with confirmatory PCR tests as necessary, can help identify cases among both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals
  • Testing is only the first step and must be combined with diligent masking, quarantining if positive, and distancing
  • Frequent testing is necessary to effectively identify cases
  • Availability of tests continues to be a major barrier for effective testing at schools, universities, and in communities

2.Testing to re-open K-12 schools is extremely complex and will require insight from school administrators, staff, and community partners

  • Interviews with school administrators, teachers, parents, and children will help inform potential solutions and barriers to K-12 testing
  • Given the likely hesitance of some parents to have children tested due to potential of missing work if a child tests positive, it is imperative that supports are in place for families needing to quarantine
  • Mathematical models are needed to understand who to test and how often
  • Pilots at a variety of different schools can help shaped the most effective approaches; however, choosing pilot locations will be difficult given limitations in tests and supplies

This session highlighted the ongoing need for frequent, mass testing as the critical first step to containing spread of the virus. With resources and supplies greatly limited, test site leaders in a variety of settings are having to make difficult choices of who to test and at what frequency. Pilots at Universities are showing promising results and with better defined protocols and ample resources, could help influence reopening of K-12 schools.

Download presentation

~~~

This event is co-sponsored by the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement and The Rockefeller Foundation. The views expressed by the speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors

November 24th, 2020

Promoting a Positive Patient Experience

Key take-aways

During the second part of the Innovation series, Phillip D. Levy, MD, MPH, FACEP, FAHA, FACC Professor of Emergency Medicine and Assistant Vice President for Research at Wayne State University and Chief Innovation Officer at Wayne Health
shared how they are engaging community members and providing screenings and services beyond COVID testing to meet the needs of community members and to provide a positive patient experience.

Key take-aways include:

1.Work with trusted community partners

  • Identify which communities you want to target and then identify community partners trusted by that population to help build trust and reduce fear
  • Community partners can help provide services beyond COVID-19 testing (e.g., HIV testing, blood pressure screening, mental health referrals)
  • Prioritizing the patient experience can have a cumulative effect when patients share that positive experience with others

2.Use data to drive prioritization and services provided

  • Leverage data to understand risk distribution and inform response
  • Use data on language and disabilities to understand translation and accessibility modifications necessary
  • Utilize patient registration data and community-level data about both social needs and medical comorbidities to inform the types of services offered beyond COVID-19 testing.
  • Understand not only the pockets of risk, but why that risk exists

This session highlighted the value of building services with communities and not for them and to how understanding the needs, fears and desires of community residents supports effective response. This approach can create lasting infrastructure needed for response to the current pandemic and more importantly for long term community engagement to support population health management.

Download presentation

~~~

This event is co-sponsored by the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement and The Rockefeller Foundation. The views expressed by the speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors

November 17th, 2020

Choosing the Right Type of Testing Site & Managing Through Changes in Weather

Key take-aways

During the first part of the Innovation Series, Ashley Johnson, Continuous Improvement Specialist at Providence St. Joseph Health, Alaska Region, and Brittney Hahn, BSW, CDCA, Early Intervention Program Coordinator at the UC College of Medicine in Cincinnati, OH shared how they are selecting testing sites and managing through changes in weather.

They shared innovative practices as well as ongoing challenges and received insight from other leaders across the country.

Key take-aways include:

1.Approaches to keeping staff warm

  • Use hand and foot warmers
  • Create heated spaces for staff breaks using space heaters inside tents
  • Use ice fishing huts designed to withstand the elements to protect staff from the elements
  • Use heated storage units with collapsible awnings as hubs for testing Select plastic gowns (vs. paper) to provide more insulation
  • Move testing to indoor locations when proper ventilation and infection prevention protocols can be established
  • Consider indoor/outdoor facilities with open walls such as parking garages
  • Consider using refurbished shipping containers

2.Staff and patient safety and patient trust

  • Provide ice cleats to staff in icy conditions
  • Rotate staff often
  • Implement signs and cones and barriers at drive through sites to keep vehicles at safe distance when conditions are icy or snowy
  • Create testing spaces that are thoughtful, clear, and reassuring

3.Ongoing barriers include

  • Access to heaters and tents that withstand conditions
  • Ability to keep cleaning supplies from freezing
  • Keeping the hands of staff warm given need to frequently change gloves
  • Financial barriers to maintaining site operations and concerns of upcoming funding cliff with CARES ACT funds only available through the end of 2020

We also heard from Caitlin Taylor, RA, Architect and Design Director at MASS Design. Caitlin shared how MASS is supporting pandemic response working with multiple industries to build spaces and processes to reduce the spread of infectious disease and support trust building with patients. Caitlin provided an overview of Design Considerations for Off-Site COVID-19 Testing Centers, a tool designed in partnership with NRHI and Senior Epidemiologist Liz Winterbauer, MPH. Additional resources shared by presenters and participants and can be accessed here.

This session highlighted the need for ongoing support and financial assistance for COVID-19 testing as cases surge across the country. Let’s continue to learn from each other and accelerate progress by coming together, sharing resources, and advocating for the ongoing support needed for effective and safe testing.

Download presentation

~~~

This event is co-sponsored by the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement and The Rockefeller Foundation. The views expressed by the speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors

December 1st

Return to school and work – scaling rapid testing

Key take-aways

Innovation Series 3

First presenter presenter during the final session of the three-part Innovation Series was Jennifer Unger, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of California Keck School of Medicine and Principal Investigator on a study with The Rockefeller Foundation to develop a testing protocol for K-12 schools, Dr. Unger focus is on the Los Angeles County, one of the most diverse and largest school systems in the Country. Qualitative research including interviews are being conducted to inform what will work in the real world. Interviews will help identify what to expect regarding receptivity of children to be tested and who will be willing to administer the tests. They are anticipating multiple challenges including limited availability of tests, how to handle the transport to lab and resulting processes, and staff to conduct the testing. Her team expects to have a report to help guide others early in 2021.

Second presenter was Tommy Thompson, former Wisconsin Governor and HHS Secretary and Interim President of the University of Wisconsin, spoke to strategies used across the university system to keep students and staff safe while keeping the University open. Regular rapid antigen testing has resulted in a dramatic improvement in positivity rates- from 22% to less than 3% across all campuses. With this improvement, the current focus to combat the spread of the virus is to ramp up testing even more. The success at the University has attracted attention of the current administration as well as the Biden team providing the opportunity to showcase the effectiveness of widespread and frequent rapid testing and the need for resources to support this approach.

Key take-aways include:

1.“Testing Works,” and when combined with mask wearing, distancing, and quarantining can effectively reduce the spread of COVID-19

  • Initial antigen tests, or rapid point of care testing, combined with confirmatory PCR tests as necessary, can help identify cases among both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals
  • Testing is only the first step and must be combined with diligent masking, quarantining if positive, and distancing
  • Frequent testing is necessary to effectively identify cases
  • Availability of tests continues to be a major barrier for effective testing at schools, universities, and in communities

2.Testing to re-open K-12 schools is extremely complex and will require insight from school administrators, staff, and community partners

  • Interviews with school administrators, teachers, parents, and children will help inform potential solutions and barriers to K-12 testing
  • Given the likely hesitance of some parents to have children tested due to potential of missing work if a child tests positive, it is imperative that supports are in place for families needing to quarantine
  • Mathematical models are needed to understand who to test and how often
  • Pilots at a variety of different schools can help shaped the most effective approaches; however, choosing pilot locations will be difficult given limitations in tests and supplies

This session highlighted the ongoing need for frequent, mass testing as the critical first step to containing spread of the virus. With resources and supplies greatly limited, test site leaders in a variety of settings are having to make difficult choices of who to test and at what frequency. Pilots at Universities are showing promising results and with better defined protocols and ample resources, could help influence reopening of K-12 schools.

Download presentation

This event is co-sponsored by the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement and The Rockefeller Foundation. The views expressed by the speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors

November 24th

Promoting a positive patient experience

Key take-aways

WSU-Innovation Series-11.24.20

During the second part of the Innovation series, Phillip D. Levy, MD, MPH, FACEP, FAHA, FACC Professor of Emergency Medicine and Assistant Vice President for Research at Wayne State University and Chief Innovation Officer at Wayne Health
shared how they are engaging community members and providing screenings and services beyond COVID testing to meet the needs of community members and to provide a positive patient experience.

Key take-aways include:

1.Work with trusted community partners

  • Identify which communities you want to target and then identify community partners trusted by that population to help build trust and reduce fear
  • Community partners can help provide services beyond COVID-19 testing (e.g., HIV testing, blood pressure screening, mental health referrals)
  • Prioritizing the patient experience can have a cumulative effect when patients share that positive experience with others

2.Use data to drive prioritization and services provided

  • Leverage data to understand risk distribution and inform response
  • Use data on language and disabilities to understand translation and accessibility modifications necessary
  • Utilize patient registration data and community-level data about both social needs and medical comorbidities to inform the types of services offered beyond COVID-19 testing.
  • Understand not only the pockets of risk, but why that risk exists

This session highlighted the value of building services with communities and not for them and to how understanding the needs, fears and desires of community residents supports effective response. This approach can create lasting infrastructure needed for response to the current pandemic and more importantly for long term community engagement to support population health management.

Download presentation

This event is co-sponsored by the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement and The Rockefeller Foundation. The views expressed by the speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors

November 17th

Choosing the right type of testing site &
managing through changes in weather

Key take-aways

Part One top image

During the first part of the Innovation Series, Ashley Johnson, Continuous Improvement Specialist at Providence St. Joseph Health, Alaska Region, and Brittney Hahn, BSW, CDCA, Early Intervention Program Coordinator at the UC College of Medicine in Cincinnati, OH shared how they are selecting testing sites and managing through changes in weather.

They shared innovative practices as well as ongoing challenges and received insight from other leaders across the country.

Key take-aways include:

1.Approaches to keeping staff warm

  • Use hand and foot warmers
  • Create heated spaces for staff breaks using space heaters inside tents
  • Use ice fishing huts designed to withstand the elements to protect staff from the elements
  • Use heated storage units with collapsible awnings as hubs for testing Select plastic gowns (vs. paper) to provide more insulation
  • Move testing to indoor locations when proper ventilation and infection prevention protocols can be established
  • Consider indoor/outdoor facilities with open walls such as parking garages
  • Consider using refurbished shipping containers

2.Staff and patient safety and patient trust

  • Provide ice cleats to staff in icy conditions
  • Rotate staff often
  • Implement signs and cones and barriers at drive through sites to keep vehicles at safe distance when conditions are icy or snowy
  • Create testing spaces that are thoughtful, clear, and reassuring

3.Ongoing barriers include

  • Access to heaters and tents that withstand conditions
  • Ability to keep cleaning supplies from freezing
  • Keeping the hands of staff warm given need to frequently change gloves
  • Financial barriers to maintaining site operations and concerns of upcoming funding cliff with CARES ACT funds only available through the end of 2020

We also heard from Caitlin Taylor, RA, Architect and Design Director at MASS Design. Caitlin shared how MASS is supporting pandemic response working with multiple industries to build spaces and processes to reduce the spread of infectious disease and support trust building with patients. Caitlin provided an overview of Design Considerations for Off-Site COVID-19 Testing Centers, a tool designed in partnership with NRHI and Senior Epidemiologist Liz Winterbauer, MPH. Additional resources shared by presenters and participants and can be accessed here.

This session highlighted the need for ongoing support and financial assistance for COVID-19 testing as cases surge across the country. Let’s continue to learn from each other and accelerate progress by coming together, sharing resources, and advocating for the ongoing support needed for effective and safe testing.

Download presentation

This event is co-sponsored by the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement and The Rockefeller Foundation. The views expressed by the speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors