Talking With People: COVID-19 From The Communication Front Lines
Our job, as a company, boils down to three steps: establish lines of communication, talk with people, and help them find solutions. This definition sets us apart from every other patient engagement solution on the market for a few reasons. First is our focus on people. Not patients, not members, not populations. People. Second is that we celebrate two-way communication. We talk with people, not to them. Third is our approach to helping people from culturally distinct backgrounds and those who are underserved or vulnerable find the solutions they need. We do all of this by forming true partnerships with our clients to help them achieve their goals.
At the heart of our company is our Care Coordinator team. They’re our frontline staff of empathetic and professional people who go the extra mile to help people. It’s an everyday occurrence for a Care Coordinator to talk with someone and based on the conversation, go and find the additional information that person may need to get through the day and make his or her life better. Sometimes it’s contact information for their health plan or local clinic, or a phone number for a shelter or food pantry nearby. Sometimes it’s just listening to someone talk about the challenges he or she may be facing and offering the compassion that they may not find anywhere else.
Now more than ever, we’re listening closely and doing our best to help people who are struggling to navigate these strange, frightening, and ever-changing times. The majority of our conversations are with people who are living in the safety-net. Some may be recently unemployed, others underemployed, more are essential workers who are still required to report for work on a daily basis, despite shelter in place orders. They’re focused on trying to survive this crisis while keeping food on their tables, shelter over their heads, and their families safe. No one is going to put a microphone in front of them and hold a press conference, but we think their voices need to be heard.
Below are the voices of just a few of the people we’ve connected with recently. Editor’s note: A few minor edits have been made for clarity or to protect patient privacy.
“We, the farm workers, have to work otherwise we will not eat. And we do not have money to pay the rent.” (adapted from Spanish)
“I am really worried because my husband has a lot of pain in his lungs and I do not know how to help him.”
“I would like to stay home, but who would pay my bills?” (adapted from Spanish)
“I have a question, my eyes have been itching for 6 days and last night I saw a woman who has coronavirus and her eyes are red as mine. At work I take care of 2 elders and though I do not have any other symptoms I am afraid of being infected and I am afraid of infecting them.” (adapted from Spanish)
There’s an added layer of struggle for people who have respiratory problems like asthma. We talked recently to a young mother of two. She talked about the difficulty of getting food and medicine, and how hard it was to keep space between her and her two young children, all while knowing her asthma put her at greater risk for severe illness if she was diagnosed with COVID-19. In her words, “This pandemic, it has to end.”