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| The June 16 city council meeting focused on campus safety issues, digital health efforts, and UAMS’ transition to a workday management system.
Robert Barentin, chief of the UAMS Police Department, first spoke about ways employees could protect themselves in the event of a campus shooting.
“With all the active shootings going on across the country, we know this is an important topic,” he said.
Barentin said UAMS employees can ask the police for an assessment of the workspace, during which the officer will indicate the safest locations and help them develop a plan to protect themselves in the event of an active shooting. Asked later in the meeting, Barentin noted that officers could also conduct assessments of the university’s regional programs.
The chief of police said that if a shooting occurred, employees should adopt a strategy to “avoid, deny, defend.” Avoidance means paying attention to the surrounding environment and moving away from the source of the threat. Denial involves creating barriers to slow the gunman down, as well as turning off lights and staying out of sight. If these measures do not prevent confrontation with the aggressor, people must be prepared to defend themselves.
Barentin urged employees to be proactive, calling them the “first line of defence.” He said anyone who sees a potential threat should contact the police immediately.
Chancellor Cam Patterson, who holds an MBA and an MBA, praised the Police Department for its efforts in preventing threats on campus. “Our police officers are doing a great job keeping us safe,” he said.
Joseph Sanford, MD, director of the UAMS Institute for Digital Health and Innovation, followed Barrentine with updates about the university’s UAMS HealthNow program. HealthNow offers virtual care for common ailments, stomach or skin problems, or minor injuries. It also provides HIV and COVID-19 prevention services.
Sanford said HealthNow Virtual Care has recorded 1,298 visits through the Epic system since March 2020, including 392 visits in the past six months.
Sanford has reported 3,400 patients have come into contact with COVID-19 services since March 2020. On June 10, HealthNow began offering telemedicine with Paxlovid, an antiviral drug for those with mild or moderate COVID-19 symptoms. Sanford said 26 prescriptions for baxlovid were written through HealthNow.
Sanford also noted the success of the UAMS Virtual Hernia Clinic. The virtual clinic, which launched in April, conducts pre-operative assessments remotely, with the only in-person patient visit taking place on the day of surgery. The clinic has received 39 patients so far, and 14 have been sent to the surgical team. Others are in the improvement program to prepare them for their actions.
The HealthNow team also provides ConnectNow AR Screening Services, a virtual program that provides behavioral health treatment for a variety of mental health issues. Sanford said AR ConnectNow, which is led by the UAMS Institute for Psychiatry Research, has logged 2,923 patient connections since May 2020.
Next year, HealthNow aims to expand direct services by increasing the number of digital clinical partnerships, and plans to engage colleges in the state to use the program for the benefit of students and staff.
“I am very proud of the organization for founding this new way of healthcare,” Sanford said.
When asked about UAMS’ vision for the future of digital health services, Patterson noted its scalability, which “means that we can grow faster in digital health than we can in clinical health programs, and we are committed to seeing that happen.”
Patterson said that UAMS will continue to research new ways to provide these services. “I think we’re seeing the tip of the iceberg now,” he said.
The city council meeting also highlighted UAMS’ upcoming transition to a workday management system. Workday, which will replace SAP and My Compass, begins July 5.
It’s been a while, and we’re finally here,” said Nathan Nolen of UA System, who gave a presentation on the Workday app. Nolin noted the benefits of Workday, including mobile accessibility, easy-to-use interface, and real-time data.
When the Work Day application begins, the first day checklist will be sent to employees. Certain items will require employees to take action, such as requesting time off in the future or adding patrons. Other items will require them to review the data.
Workday training is set on My Compass, and Nolen said the employee’s completion rate was 82%. All UAMS employees hired before April 1 also have access to a training tenant that allows them to log into a Workday replica and practice making transactions.
UAMS plans to hold a series of public sessions in late June to teach employees how to sign into Workday and to provide information on where they can receive support after the program begins. Separate sessions on June 28 will provide assistance to ICE staff and colleges, and a session for the general public will take place on June 29. Staff can also attend sessions in person in the Fred Smith Auditorium at the Spine Institute.
When asked at the end of the meeting about the current state of COVID-19 in Arkansas, Patterson said, “What we know about the future is that it’s hard to predict the future.” The virus is unlikely to go away, he said, but its severity is declining as people gain immunity through infections or vaccinations and as they access effective treatments.
Patterson noted that medical experts still do not have a complete understanding of the prolonged Covid-19 virus, and clinicians are likely to see an increase in patients with long-term complications.
Amid rising COVID numbers in Arkansas, Steppe Mette, MD, CEO of UAMS Medical Center and vice president of UAMS Health, said the campus would not change its policy requiring concealment in areas where people will interact with patients.
“Once you enter the hospital building or any clinical space, we are still asking all patients, families and staff to hide,” he said.