To help support the Penn Medicine community through the pandemic, Penn Medicine created an online website of resources for its staff while they cared for COVID-19 patients.
PennMedicineTogether is a website that includes resources for personal and family care, essential support services such as food and housing assistance, building community, as well as worksite return information for the Penn Medicine community. The site was founded at the beginning of April and has had over 100,000 page views and 10,000 active users since then.
Staff who utilize the site come from the Perelman School of Medicine, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Hospital, and Penn Medicine hospitals across local suburban regions among its other facilities.
Dr. Lisa Bellini, Senior Vice Dean for Academic Affairs at the Perelman School of Medicine and a Chair of Penn Medicine's Workforce Wellness Committee, said that the website was created by the WWC to support the mental and physical health needs of Penn Medicine faculty and staff.
The platform also features a gratitude section that invites patients and Penn community members to provide messages of encouragement and personal gratitude, which are then uploaded to the site.
Bellini said the main resource that doctors have been using from PennMedicineTogether is the mental health support system, Cobalt. The Cobalt system allows health professionals to anonymously answer questions. Based on their responses, the system generates a list of resources geared towards their specific needs.
Bellini believes the privacy offered by the Cobalt system has made it easier for healthcare workers to seek mental health support.
"I think that one of the challenges we’ve always had as healthcare professionals is the stigma associated with healthcare professionals accessing mental health services," Bellini said. "One of the things that Cobalt has done is create a very private and confidential corridor for someone to access mental health support. You don’t have to call anybody."
While PennMedicineTogether has only been live for a few months, Bellini believes the platform has a bright future amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“I think we have a long way to go with the pandemic. So, [PennMedicineTogether will] certainly be here for the foreseeable future,” she said.