Equitable access to resources
Another major focus for the network is promoting health equity – giving pediatric providers and health systems equitable access to information that meets their needs, Dr. Ratner said. “We’ve made a particular effort to reach out to hospitals that are the most vulnerable, including rural hospitals, and to those serving the most vulnerable patients,” she noted. These also include the homeless and refugees.
“We’ve been trying to be mindful of avoiding the sometimes-intimidating power structure that has been traditional in medicine,” Dr. Ratner said. The network’s equity working group is trying to provide content with structural competency and cultural humility. “We’re learning a lot about the ways the health care system is broken,” she added. “We all agree that we have a fragmented health care system, but there are ways to make it less fragmented and learn from each other.”
In the tragedy of the COVID epidemic, there are also unique opportunities to learn to work collaboratively and make the health care system stronger for those in greatest need, Dr. Ratner added. “What we hope is that our network becomes an example of that, even as it is moving so quickly.”
Audrey Uong, MD, an attending physician in the division of hospital medicine at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, connected with POPCoRN for an educational presentation reviewing resuscitation in adult patients. She wanted to talk with peers about what’s going on, so as not to feel alone in her practice. She has also found the network’s website useful for identifying educational resources.
“As pediatricians, we have been asked to care for adult patients. One of our units has been admitting mostly patients under age 30, and we are accepting older patients in another unit on the pediatric wing.” This kind of thing is also happening in a lot of other places, Dr. Uong said. Keeping up with these changes in her own practice has been challenging.
She tries to take one day at a time. “Everyone at this institution feels the same – that we’re locked in on meeting the need. Even our child life specialists, when they’re not working with younger patients, have created this amazing support room for staff, with snacks and soothing music. There’s been a lot of attention paid to making us feel supported in this work.”