Leverage Your Network to Address the Pandemic

Leverage Your Network to Address the Pandemic

In times of crisis, children’s hospitals can lean on each other to learn quickly.

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic presents health care with an unprecedented challenge—providers and researchers are scrambling to prevent the spread of the virus and develop treatments. While most of the population is working toward those goals through isolation and social distancing, one health care leader says a different approach is most effective: don't go it alone.

"My biggest piece of leadership advice is always to recognize the importance of communities and networks," says Natalie Pageler M.D., M.Ed., chief medical information officer, Stanford Children's Health and clinical professor of pediatric critical care, Stanford University, in Palo Alto, California. "And this pandemic is no exception."

Networking opportunities are abundant

According to Pageler, that spirit of collaboration is especially strong in the digital health community. "We have a very strong pediatric informatics community," Pageler says. "As this pandemic began to emerge, people immediately jumped on the listservs and organized webinars to share information so we could capitalize on each other's innovations and quick wins."

While digital health professionals may naturally be more inclined to leverage technology to connect, Pageler says there are opportunities across all disciplines to build networks. "It's absolutely critical that every leader—especially in pediatrics where we're a relatively small community—find those groups of people in the same field," Pageler says. "You must develop those connections so you can reach out quickly to your peer group and learn together—especially in a time of crisis."

Also: How Pageler and her team at Stanford Children's Health handled the sudden influx of telehealth visits amid the COVID-19 pandemic and what it might mean for the future of the technology.

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