Healthcare team leverages Ocean to support large-scale COVID-screening program


In August of 2020, under the looming shadow of COVID-19, the Health & Wellness Clinic (HWC) at the University of Toronto was tasked with quickly implementing a COVID-screening program for international students returning to campus. During the mandatory 13-day quarantine period, students needed to be screened daily for symptoms of both COVID-19 and mental health concerns.

At the height of the quarantine, clinic staff were monitoring 500+ students and making 14,000 calls per week. The onerous task had nursing staff working 16 hours a day – even on weekends.

“The biggest challenge for us was that we didn’t know the volume of students coming in – until they were here,” says Janine Robb, Executive Director of the Health and Wellness Clinic. “By the beginning of September, the numbers got very high, and we realized we had a problem.”

The HWC required a solution that would enable daily screening of students, reduce the number of manual calls, and alleviate the administrative burden on the medical services team. With timing a critical factor, the HWC implemented Ocean’s patient reminders solution & automated forms as their solution.

With Ocean, the HWC reduced their administrative workload, enabling them to return to a normal 7.5 hour work day – Monday to Friday. It also allowed the small team to conduct wide-scale healthcare screening, without reducing quality of care. By the end of February 2021, the HWC had completed over 2,300 assessments using the Ocean Platform.

Overall, student response to the program has been very positive. They appreciate that surveys can easily and conveniently be completed at any time using any device with a browser such as a smartphone, tablet or computer.

Robb adds that it’s a good balance because human contact is also very important for those who are far from home. “They can feel very alone, so a friendly voice checking in on them from time to time is always welcome.”

Looking ahead, the HWC is undergoing a space and program redesign to help realize its goal of being as paper-free as possible. Robb is confident that Ocean technology will continue to be an integral part of the clinic’s vision for the future.

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