Technology helping businesses to safely reopen

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In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and implementation of social distancing guidelines, St. Johns County businesses are looking for ways to protect employees, customers and work environments as they seek to reopen.

Thursday, June 11, local business leaders had an opportunity to learn how new technology is making that possible. Representatives of Healthfully, creators of a digital health platform, joined Flagler Health+ President and CEO Jason Barrett for a webinar on the local response to the coronavirus.

The webinar was presented by the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce and the county’s Economic Development Council.

The Healthfully app can be used by businesses, colleges, schools and other institutions, according to company CEO Paul Viskovich. It helps employees and students monitor symptoms and seek guidance. It also provides employers and administrators with a dashboard that displays data related to areas of concern.

The goal is to offer a comprehensive back-to-work solution.

“We cover everything from daily self-screening to having to consult with a physician virtually, getting the lab order results and then communicating that back to the employer, the employee, the provider and then providing the tools for employers to manage exposure in their work environments,” said Chief Operating Officer Mark Boudreau.

The dashboard ensures that employees are getting tested, pursuing care where necessary and complying with workplace safety policies. In terms of managing exposure, employers can see whether employees may have come in contact with coworkers who have tested positive.

Boudreau said the company maintains “the highest privacy and security standards” and that the only health results shared with employers are those related to COVID-19.

Employers subscribe to the service, which can be billed to insurance. To learn more, go to healthfully.io.

“This is the continued innovation of medicine,” said Barrett. Flagler Health+, as the county’s largest private employer, has partnered with Healthfully.

Barrett offered an overview of the hospital’s response to the pandemic. The hospital, which began planning for an outbreak in January, saw its first case March 10.

Though the hospital had 98 dedicated COVID-19 beds, only about 20 coronavirus patients have required hospitalization.

“We were not overrun,” Barrett said.

In March and April, the hospital staffed a testing site at no cost to the community and saw more than 2,000 residents. It worked with St. Johns Care Connect to help more than 500 families get access to food and rental assistance and partnered with EPIC Behavioral Health to address a spike in mental health episodes.

Activity has bounced back in some areas. Inpatient treatment is at 92% of the pre-COVID-19 level. Outpatient heart procedures are at 96%, outpatient surgery is at 70%. Emergency care is at 61%, which is consistent with numbers nationally.

The hospital saw a financial impact of about $15 million and has received federal funding to contend with that; much of it is a loan. Grant funding covered about 40% of lost revenue.

COVID-19 has not disrupted the hospital’s growth strategy. It is on track to open a health village in Nocatee in November, and groundbreaking on a Durbin Park health and wellness campus in partnership with UF Health is expected to be held in September.

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