Life pre-COVID-19 seems like the distant past. As we ease back into our daily lives and adapt to a new reality, it is worth reflecting on the year we’ve had and the efforts of the Kingdom and the company in helping to curb the spread of the new Coronavirus pandemic.
As active cases increased around the world, the Ministry of Health took swift action and mobilized all resources to educate and protect the community with the goal of flattening the curve and helping us get back into a “new normal.”
Supporting these efforts, Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare (JHAH) also launched a full-fledged bilingual outreach campaign on Jan. 27 following the World Health Organization epidemic response checklist.
And to sustain operations during the pandemic, JHAH activated a business continuity plan, which included setting up a COVID-19 help desk with a dedicated certified medical staff to provide timely support, and offering patients virtual appointments with their doctors.
In the spirit of celebrating our achievements, here are the top six actions that JHAH took to safeguard our communities and protect our quality of life:
1. Spreading Awareness
JHAH began a partnership with Aramco Training & Development to provide the community with vital infection prevention knowledge. Three bilingual e-Learning modules were created and launched within three days. They included a COVID-19 overview, a home isolation guide, as well as tips on how employees can return to work safely, and an Emotional First Aid during COVID-19 course. The courses have been taken more than 100,000 times.
JHAH has also been providing multilingual educational content for print and digital distribution to benefit everyone in the community. JHAH’s outreach efforts also includes radio, email, online resources on the JHAH.com website, videos, social media, and education sessions.
2. Care in the Time of Physical Distancing
For medical checkups and appointments, patients were given the option to speak to their physicians over the phone or to meet with them virtually on MyChart. Since March, there has been more than 83,000 telephone visits, and more than 7,000 video visits.
JHAH also initiated support care lines staffed with experts to help those looking for answers to medical or emotional health questions related to COVID-19, or in need of care support related to domestic abuse. The hospital received more than 17,000 incoming calls to the COVID-19 Care Line since March, and more than 40,000 calls to the Nurse Care Line.
To limit crowding and to keep patients safe, JHAH set up a drive-through medication pickup kiosk in Dhahran, in addition to the 24 existing medication pickup locations. This allowed patients to pick up their prescriptions while following infection prevention best practices.
3. Addressing Mental Health
JHAH’s holistic engagement plans considered the community’s need for mental health support during trying times. The online Mental Health Tool Kit was created to support the community’s emotional resilience in dealing with the pandemic and the Mental Health Tool Kit booklet is available on JHAH.com in both Arabic and English for those interested. (QR code attached)
4. Taking the Lead in Testing
In March, JHAH Dhahran became the first drive-through screening station in the Kingdom, where patients were tested for COVID-19. The facility was built to accommodate up to 500 users per day, including employees and the contracted Aramco workforce. The drive-through and walk-though screening capability was established in all JHAH facilities shortly after.
In April 2020, the JHAH Dhahran lab was granted approval by the Ministry of Health for COVID-19 in-house testing with Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technology — a “golden method” for COVID-19 testing. The implementation of the in-house COVID-19 testing dramatically reduced the turnaround time it took to retrieve diagnostic results.
5. Providing Safe Quarantine Facilities
JHAH established multiple designated quarantine facilities with a total capacity of 1,243 rooms, staying ahead of volume demand. The facilities are managed by experienced JHAH Primary Care physicians and staffed by multidisciplinary teams to provide Saudi Aramco employees and dependents with a comfortable experience, and ensure proper monitoring and regular testing according to the regulations of the Ministry of Health.
6. Extending a Helping Hand
During the Qatif lockdown, JHAH established a satellite oncology clinic, staffed by JHAH employees with access to the JHAH electronic medical record system to sustain patient safety during lockdown. This included services such as chemotherapy, blood transfusion, dialysis and medications for critical patients residing in Qatif.
JHAH also supported Saudi Arabia’s COVID-19 international humanitarian relief mission. Dr. Abdullah Alrabiah, General Supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, assigned JHAH Supply Chain to source 17,000 items of emergency medical equipment and supplies for the COVID-19 pandemic, with a value of SR361,076,679. JHAH completed this ambitious task in four working days.
These are only some of the efforts taken by the JHAH medical center. We cannot thank their staff enough for the sacrifices they’ve made to ensure that all clinics are providing world-class care to employees and the wider community, and keeping us safe.