Audrette Kennon has answered the call to support the COVID-19 response at Scripps. As the operations manager for Scripps HealthExpress, she is part of the Scripps Medical Foundation leadership team that has mobilized to respond to patient calls and testing.
“It was like the floor of the stock market,” says Kennon. “We got the call and realized that we had to get things put up quickly.”
This included setting up a COVID-19 Nurse Line to answer patient questions. With help from information services, facilities and Monica LaJoie, nursing manager of the Scripps HealthExpress nurse triage line, the team found office space and installed phones, computers and other equipment for the nurses. Then Kennon coordinated staffing of the nursing team who would answer questions and triage callers to determine if they needed additional care. Many of the nurses were coming from different clinical areas around Scripps.
“I am humbled by the experience and how everyone rallied to put the patient at the center of what we are doing.”
“The community response was overwhelming,” says Kennon. “On the first day, we turned the phones on and we had over 2,000 calls. We had to be sure we had all the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control to be sure we followed the guidelines and asked all the right questions.”
Callers with COVID-19 symptoms of concern were directed to video visits and other virtual care options with Scripps providers. Scripps had recently added video visits as a way for patients to receive care without an actual in-person visit. During the spread of coronavirus it has become a critical tool, helping to screen and identify patients who needed further testing.
“People who needed COVID-19 testing were directed to cabanas at Scripps Clinic, Torrey Pines; Scripps Clinic, Rancho Bernardo; and Scripps Coastal Medical Center, Cedar,” says Kennon. “A few weeks ago we had 108 or 109 patients on the schedule to get tested in one day at Scripps Clinic, Torrey Pines. Our Scripps HealthExpress staff and larger medical foundation team stepped up to work at these locations, wherever and whenever needed.”
Kennon praises the collaboration and teamwork across the organization, and everyone’s ability to take on new responsibilities in this time of crisis, while being mindful of the safety of both staff and patients, to provide the best care to the community.
“I am humbled by the experience and how everyone rallied to put the patient at the center of what we are doing,” she says. “When you hear we are all in this together — that’s a true fact.”