COVID-19: 5 things ISDH wants every Indiana physician to know
ISMA recently connected with Greta Sanderson of the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) to learn how ISDH is working to meet physicians’ needs during the COVID-19 emergency. Here are five important ways physicians can work with ISDH to maximize Indiana’s response.

1. Watch ISDH’s weekly webcast for health care providers
These webcasts by Lindsay Weaver, MD, ISDH chief medical officer, occur every Friday at noon Eastern time and include important information about the novel coronavirus and the state’s response.

Participate in the live webcasts (Internet Explorer required). A recording is available immediately afterward (Internet Explorer required).

Archived webcasts will also be available the following day (on any browser).

2. Tell ISDH what PPE, other resources you need
ISDH tracks available health care resources, such as swabs and personal protective equipment (PPE), and where they are most needed through a database called EMResource. Hospitals, local health departments and long-term care facilities can enter their current supplies of PPE and bed capacity, so that ISDH can deploy resources it receives to those in critical need. To date, 285 deliveries have been made.

For the most effective response, facilities should submit requests for assistance by 10 a.m., seven days a week. If you do not already participate in EMResource, request a user account. EMR training for Indiana hospitals is also offered

Health care providers and hospitals should also update their PPE information in EMResource to reflect any SNS distributions.

3. Report every positive test to your local health department
Be sure to report every positive test for the novel coronavirus to your local health department, as for any other communicable disease. This ensures ISDH receives the most information possible about each case, since lab reports can be brief. It also ensures that each new case is logged in the patient’s county of residence instead of where the lab is located and lets county officials follow up with first responders who might have been exposed. For related guidance from ISDH, see COVID-19 Specimen Submission and Collection.

4. Sign up for Indiana Health Alert Network (IHAN) alerts
Every Indiana physician should register for alerts from the Indiana Health Alert Network (IHAN-IN). ISDH uses this system to distribute critical information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), such as screening and clinical guidance on COVID-19, to health care professionals. Register >> 

5. Volunteer to relieve front-line colleagues
To help meet the expected surge in COVID-19 cases in Indiana, Gov. Eric Holcomb signed an executive order that allows health care professionals who don’t currently hold an active Indiana license – including retired physicians and those who have become inactive in the past five years – to relieve front-line colleagues. Within two days of the March 30 order, 11,000 volunteers had joined the list.

Besides recently retired or inactive medical professionals, the executive order includes medical professionals licensed in other states, medical professionals who held licenses in other states and retired or became inactive in the past five years, and certain medical students and graduates. Volunteers must register with the Professional Licensing Agency and may assist in screenings, telemedicine and other basic procedures to free regularly licensed medical professionals to treat COVID-19 patients.

If you’d like to volunteer, begin by completing the ISDH survey here.

Learn more >>

ISDH COVID-19 webpage for health care professionals >>