The COVID-19 global pandemic has dominated headlines, and likely will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Much of what I’ve read is about the staggering toll of COVID-19 – the number of people who are hospitalized, death tolls, the challenges with testing and developing a vaccine, jobs lost, long lines at food banks and more.
Nevertheless, I instinctively knew there had to be COVID-19 bright spots. For me, I’ve been buoyed by the Geneia team who rallied tirelessly as a cohesive, focused, unified force to launch a solution that could help front-line staff amidst a crisis. ICYMI, Geneia launched a free, lightweight version of our Theon® Platform for Care Management to help hospitals, physicians and healthcare organizations triage patients seeking clinical counsel, testing and care. To learn more or get the solution for your healthcare organization, click here.
On a personal level, I relish all the time I now have to spend with my children, particularly with a daughter about to head off to college, and the collective sense of community I feel at home, in my town, across friends old and new, near and far, and especially at Geneia.
Knowing there must be more COVID-19 bright spots, I asked Geneia leaders to share their professional and personal ones. Here are some of my favorites.
Like me, many Geneia leaders are proud of the team’s work on our COVID-19 care management solution, including Lou Dion, director of managed services, who also offered that a personal upside is, “Being forced to slow down,” although he cautioned, “It may not continue to be an upside if we have to slow down for too long.”
Andrew Fairless, principal data scientist, responded:
“I have been incredibly impressed by our own team of data scientists. We have been meeting urgently and constantly, vigorously debating, and volunteering our expertise to help each other in devising ways to identify those at greatest risk from COVID-19 infection, so that healthcare professionals can quickly focus their limited resources on those with the most need. Though we are trodding through a dark time, I'm proud to be on the journey with such an innovative, passionate, and intellectually stimulating team.”
Another data scientist, Zhipeng Liu, noted the work of the Geneia Data Intelligence Lab to contend with COVID-19:
“As a data scientist, I am working closely with my colleagues to develop data science products that help our customers and the general public to make data-driven decisions on dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. I feel very excited about how impactful our work could be in stopping the pandemic.”
He also added, “Personally, working from home saves me some time on commuting so I can have fresh breakfast every day!”
Some noted the opportunity to get to know team members in different ways as well as how we’re supporting each other.
Jenn Livelsberger, vice president of strategy, planning and employee experience:
“It’s been refreshing to be part of an organization that truly cares about its employees – the patience, flexibility and concern of the employees makes me proud to be part of Geneia.”
Todd Kozikowski, vice president of sales:
“Daily business calls have been replaced by video meetings that are often graced by my kids needing responses to pressing questions (Is the Wi-Fi down? Did you feed the rabbit? Where are my shoes?) or an uncontrolled yodel from my dog. My colleagues and teammates now have a clear view of the framed photos on the wall in my home office. They are now witnesses to the oddly shaped plant on my desk, the unwashed dishes in my sink, my daughter’s incomplete artwork on the refrigerator, the unfolded laundry tossed across my couch…this is no longer a sign of past embarrassment or weakness…just the nature of being a human.
In an ironic twist, what I’ve noticed most is that we’re all actually becoming closer even though we’re not physically together. I’ve learned more about my team, my colleagues, my family and my friends in these past few weeks offering a new dimension to each relationship.”
Shelley Riser, vice president of consulting services and clinical innovations:
“I could not be more impressed by the nurses (and others) on our Geneia teams and their dedication, concern and compassion in how they are approaching each day to provide what’s needed for members, patients, their colleagues, co-workers, family and friends!”
Kevin Schwartz, vice president of operations:
“One thing that has lifted my spirits is the incredible reaction from the operations team, and really Geneia in general. From the very beginning, the team rallied together, organically reaching out and supporting each other, putting plans in place to allow for constant communication and, perhaps most importantly, connecting on a personal/non-work level.”
Krish Pusuluri, director of software engineering and web development:
“Professionally, I am proud of how conscious the teams have become with their interactions where background noises are more easily accepted, teammates taking the extra minute in explaining things knowing they are not sure when the next face- to- face interaction will be to clarify.”
One of the funniest responses came from Ronda Rogers, director of population health and consumer engagement:
“Since I grew up in the 70s, I feel like I’m a teenager again…. gas is cheap and I’m grounded!”
She also noted:
“One of the most positive things I have noticed with this pandemic is the increased use of telehealth and how easy it is for doctors and patients to connect and deliver appropriate care. Telehealth has been available for many years, but providers were hesitant to get on the ‘band wagon.’ Now, they are depending on telehealth to safely stay connected to their patients and providing the same level of care as a traditional office visit. It’s convenient for the patient and the provider!”
Quite a few Geneia leaders are impressed at the way COVID-19 has united their community.
Shelley Riser, vice president of consulting services and clinical innovations:
“The upside is seeing my community come together and be part of it. Whether being respectful of social distancing, offering to shop for neighbors who really shouldn’t be out and really seeing more kindness and less negativity. People are stressed, don’t get me wrong, but the ability to see things from another’s perspective with my community along with my circle seems to have shifted in a good way.”
Shelley Ni, principal data scientist:
“The bright spots I have seen are neighbors reaching out to those senior people who live by themselves and need grocery shopping and asking people to write a thank you note to healthcare workers who work on the front line to save people’s lives.”
Others cited their children and opportunities for their friends and family to connect in different ways.
Adrienne Rupp, vice president of marketing;
“An unexpected bright spot is how my daughters seem to be spending more time with each other. They are good girls and generally get along, but have very different personalities and tend to do their own thing. Perhaps because it is either ‘hang with each other’ or ‘hang with grown-ups’ for an indefinite time period…”
Scott Richmond, director of business development:
“My boys, 16 and 14, now have their own calendars. I no longer have to settle disputes about Xbox. Time allotment is on their calendar. We schedule family game night every other night! We talk so much more on family walk, non-game night!”
William Hasling, director, enterprise data architect:
“We have started having Google Hangout games nights with my kids who all live remotely. We play board games using ‘BoardGameArena’ with video chat. Everyone is stuck at home, but we have time now to have these group hangouts.”
Jay Solomon, director, business analytics services:
“Throughout this, for my family, except for my older daughter in Pittsburgh, we are having dinner together every night. That didn’t happen prior to the ‘stay- at- home’ orders. It is like a Sunday dinner every night even if we have soup and sandwiches together.”
Jay also noted that the family gasoline budget went from $300 to $60 to nothing.
Kristy Tupper, director, business services:
“The unexpected bright spot of this pandemic for me is that, with two boys soon to be out the door and onto their own lives, I’ve found time to slow down and enjoy them while they’re still here. We’ve regained the family time we seemed to have lost slowly over the years without realizing it. I have time to cook meals, and we’re here to eat them together. We’ve been able to sit down and have game nights.”
Jasmine McCammon, lead principal data scientist:
“Like many, not commuting has given me extra time to reach out to friends and family. For friends that I would normally see in person, we’ve come up with fun ways to do things virtually that we normally do together, like playing cards online or ordering sushi takeout at the same time while having a video call.
As someone who has moved around a fair amount, I also have friends and family scattered throughout the country and around the world. In the current era, maintaining geographically close relationships as if they are also very far away has taught me new ways to keep in touch with my far-flung people, and that’s something that will continue to be useful even after the pandemic ends.”
Our legal counsel, Stephanie Michel-Segnor, offered,
“One unexpected upside of the COVID-19 pandemic from a personal perspective is that my husband has finally been able to get his woodshop totally organized and is ready for projects. That alone is wonderful, but what makes it even better is that he’ll be able to build me the pergola I’ve been wanting for quite a while for our deck. #checkabigoneoffthehoneydolist”
What’s your COVID-19 bright spot?