The coronavirus was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. Among the patient groups who were at the highest risk for severe illness were immunocompromised cancer patients. Amid the challenges, COVID-19 presented New York Cancer & Blood Specialists (NYCBS) with an opportunity to demonstrate resilience in the face of change.
Ensuring the continuity of care for patients was NYCBS’s priority. By rapidly adapting to expand capabilities and infrastructure to advance clinical services, patients never had to forgo treatment. The office lobbies displayed large COVID-19 signs, showing compliance with State and Federal regulations. NYCBS provided branded masks to staff and on-site COVID-19 testing to patients and staff. Drive-up testing was also offered outside of the offices so that patients could get tested safely in their cars.
The practice took preventive measures such as temperature checks, sanitized station areas, and launched a Telehealth program for patients, allowing them to communicate with their provider in the comfort of their own home using a personal computer with a webcam or smart mobile device.
In December, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued the first emergency use authorization for a vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease. The distribution process began in phases, and the practice patiently awaited their first allotment to start administering the vaccine to patients and staff.
Nearly four months later, NYCBS received the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and vaccinated over 200 employees and patients in two days. The appointment registration process was simple; patients could book an appointment for their first dose through an online portal. Patients at the office were able to scan a QR code to check for appointment availability. Patients made their second dose appointments on-site.
NYCBS thoroughly cleaned the vaccination stations between patients and fully complied with state guidelines and regulations. After receiving their shots, patients celebrated by taking vaccine selfies and photos at the provided selfie station, turning the vaccine from a faceless and scary thing into hope.
The company displayed excellent teamwork from doctors, MA’s, NPS/PAs to everyone who played a role in making the vaccine distribution successful because of their diligence and hard work.