“It felt like I had been pin-dropped into the right place at the right time,” says Kaitlyn LeClair, senior project manager, Practice Improvement Division, of her experience becoming a practice manager for the hospital’s Respiratory Illness Clinics (RICs) and Routine Ambulatory Care for COVID (RACC) clinics during the spring COVID-19 surge. LeClair stepped in as Massachusetts General Hospital cared for a surge of patients and their necessary follow-up treatment.
“Everyone understood the hospital response was top priority and everyone banded together to get things done,” says LeClair. “Our team came in early, stayed late, worked at home and through multiple weekends to ensure our ambulatory practices felt supported and had the information, tools and supplies needed to maintain their successful operations.”
In her role managing the staff and operations of the RICs and RACCS, LeClair’s network of colleagues grew exponentially. She worked with MGH Planning and Construction to get blueprints for floor diagrams, Materials Management to ensure proper supplies, Buildings and Grounds to build walls in patient treatment areas, Police, Security and Outside Services to ensure patients had spaces to park and could arrive safely to the hospital, the Pharmacy Department and the Microbiology Lab for medications and testing kits, as well as Information Systems, a team specializing in Epic and the Photography Lab.
“I couldn’t believe how many people were involved to make this happen,” LeClair says. “Back in my practice management days we did not work together across so many departments to ensure the success of the clinic, but this was different. The RICs and RACCs required a lot attention, process improvement and dedicated teams to make them successful.”
LeClair’s team members learned to schedule in Epic (the electronic medical record) to assist with referrals, supported the team of nurses responsible for calling patients with their testing results from the clinics, and coordinated the distribution of laptops and routers to allow for practices to work remotely when applicable. The team designed hundreds of process maps and workflows to ensure patients could be tested safely and efficiently. “We were creative, we solved thousands of problems, and we supported each other,” she says. “I am hands down most proud of my team and my leaders for banding together to open several RICs, a RACC and coordinate so many important facets of this work.”
LeClair also had the opportunity to coordinate several field testing operations in Chelsea. The city reached out to Mass General to help test residents of ten apartment complexes. Mass General staff provided in-home testing, masks and contacts for food and health care resources. “This experience provided a different lens to the pandemic that I had not seen within the RICs and RACCs,” says LeClair. “There were so many community members that were so thankful we were able to come to them. It was humbling to remember that our community was also playing a role in the response to quarantine and keep themselves and their families safe.”