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As the largest health care provider in Arizona and one of the largest in the western United States, Banner Health is well prepared to respond to the spread of the novel Coronavirus: COVID-19. However, as the virus spreads, Banner's needs are evolving every day, placing significant new demands on our health care system and, importantly, our health care professionals. These are among our most urgent needs.

Innovative Technology: Telehealth in the Age of Coronavirus

Banner Health can meet community needs during this pandemic through the deployment and expansion of telehealth: technology and clinical workflows that provide for safe and effective delivery of care for both patients and providers. Cameras and speakers placed in patient rooms allow health care providers to both monitor and assess the patient without physically entering the virus-exposed area.

This innovative way to treat COVID-19 patients significantly improves conditions and outcomes for both providers and patients, leveraging the medical expertise of our specialists across multiple hospitals from a remote location. It also preserves Personal Protective Equipment, which is dangerously low supply.

Philanthropic support will help to purchase telehealth equipment for Banner’s 853 rooms currently equipped for COVID-19 patients. This funding would also allow us to add telehealth technology in our Emergency Departments to help physicians triage and treat patients without unnecessarily exposing themselves to COVID-positive or COVID-suspect patients. 

Cultivating Happiness in Medicine: An Initiative to Build Resiliency

Nearly half of physicians report suffering from burnout, a long-term stress reaction marked by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a lack of sense of personal accomplishment. These physicians are twice as likely to commit a medical error, demonstrate low professionalism, and provide a poor patient experience. Burnout also endangers physicians’ own health and well-being, increasing risk for substance abuse, anxiety, and depression. Annually, burnout costs the United States health system $4.6 billion and costs Banner Health some $27 million.

We believe that when our physicians and advanced practitioners are at their best, life is better for everyone: our patients, our providers and their families, our team members, and our communities. Banner Health is in its second year of deploying a holistic, evidenced-based approach to reducing burnout and building resiliency among its physicians and advanced practitioners. Recent survey data after the first year of implementing the Cultivating Happiness in Medicine program shows a reduction in physician turnover and higher ratings of job satisfaction.

Now more than ever, as our providers are under immense strain due to the spread of COVID-19, this work is critically important. Philanthropic support will sustain and expand this program for years to come.

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