Development of an employee call center for healthcare workers with symptoms and exposures to COVID-19

Bimal Ashar, Benjamin F. Bigelow, Renee Demski, Clarence Lam, Jennifer Parks, Saira Huggins, Jill Barbaro, Kimberly Peairs


Coronavirus disease 2019 placed unprecedented challenges on the modern healthcare system. In addition to caring for patients directly affected by the virus, hospitals and clinics had to quickly mobilize forces in order to protect and manage employees with symptoms and/or exposures to COVID-19. Interventions are needed to efficiently diagnose and quarantine healthcare workers with disease while returning those without disease expediently in order to maintain a workforce capable of dealing with the pandemic surge. This article describes the Johns Hopkins system-wide occupational health response to the coronavirus outbreak. Specifically, the steps taken to develop and implement an employee covid call center that fielded 9,000 calls during the 2½ month initial surge of the virus are outlined. The 24/7 availability and rapid triage of healthcare workers led to an ultimate decline in call volume despite increasing exposure to the virus and rising hospitalizations.

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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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