Businesses across the globe have struggled with the challenges brought about by COVID-19. Businesses have done their best to adapt to the new normal of working during a pandemic with varying degrees of success.
In these most unusual times, how do healthcare professionals continue to meet the global and local medical transportation and testing requirements for those in need?
Graham Williamson, chief executive officer at LIFESUPPORT Air Medical Services, Inc. offers some insight regarding how he and his team of professionals have adapted to the difficulties brought about by the pandemic and explains how digital marketing has helped them persevere.
What would you say has been the greatest challenge to your daily operations since the start of the pandemic?
“We had to relearn how to function as a team, this time from home. This was the same challenge faced by all of our major corporate clients as well, as they found themselves working outside of their usual office environment. The first couple of months were largely about our team adapting to new circumstances, but we managed to settle in and find the right routine, as did most of our clients and customers.
CVM Medical now manages a major call centre operation, with home offices across British Columbia, Toronto, and Alberta, assisting our COVID-19 testing for travel and corporate clients. Making this transition while maintaining the highest level of customer service has been a rewarding experience.”
Williamson notes however, that due to the critical nature of their work, LIFESUPPORT has had to maintain and continue to operate their Emergency Response Centre on a 7 day per week basis. “The EOC, which is located in Nanaimo, oversees all of our global movements and keeps a close eye on our medevac teams” says Williamson.
You mention transitions and having to adapt during this pandemic. Has COVID-19 also forced you to adapt your business goals? If so, have digital marketing and media played a role in that adaptation?
“The pandemic has brought about an even-greater need for our services. People are facing real difficulties and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call it a crisis. Virtually everything and everyone has had to make, and it has proven difficult for some customers to keep up and know where to turn.
Digital marketing has been hugely beneficial in maintaining contact with our customers through a known and trusted medium, letting them know that we continue to be here for them, and allowing us to provide critical information. It has provided us a means of informing them about the availability of important resources in a trustworthy, credible manner.”
There is an expression that “hindsight is 20/20.” Thinking back to pre-COVID-19 days, could you have done anything differently to be more prepared for this sort of situation?
“Emergency preparedness is important to us, and we have had a pandemic response plan in place since the H1N1 crisis. No one foresaw the sheer scope of this pandemic, but as healthcare professionals, including registered nurses, paramedics, and physicians, our staff responded quickly and appropriately.
Their experience and training put them at the forefront of dealing with the pandemic and providing patient-focused care.”
Looking to the future, where do you see your business in a year or two? How about five years? Do you feel that your organization and customers will be back to pre-COVID-19 operations within any of those time frames?
“Our anticipated timeline for our own business is five years. Although there are challenges involved with the vaccine’s rollout, it looks as though it will be making an impact in the near future. As distribution improves, we should see a drop in infection rates, though COVID will continue to be with us for some time to come. That is why we were first out of the gate with rapid testing. With rapid testing, we want to be able to offer our industry, business and leisure sector customers access to quick and reliable COVID testing, on the spot for safe re-opening.”
Whatever happens, and however long it takes, our business will be there, offering support to every customer in need. If they require PCR-based testing, rapid testing, or testing from home, they can continue to count on us. We’ll be working hard to ensure that we see a safe return of international travel safety so that our customers and clients can travel, work, and play confidently and securely.”
Was there anything in particular that was integral to your organization’s ability to navigate the challenges of COVID-19 you would like to share?
“Our staff showed resilience, adaptability, drive, and ambition, all of which were vital to our success. Not only were they launching our new product—COVID testing for travelers and businesses—during a pandemic, but they were also still managing all their regular daily duties.”
Needless to say, managing all of this was not an easy task. All across the country, our teams are still needing support, while we are working on developing new services and growing our operation. If not for the hard work and devotion of our employees, none of this would be possible.
CVM had to undergo accreditation by the College of Physicians recently for COVID-19 sample collection. This is because taking a COVID-19 test is a regulated healthcare activity. CVM has spent many years working in the global environment as a highly regarded and internationally accredited air ambulance company. This allowed us to quickly undertake accreditation, which was a major milestone for our organization.
A large number of clinics are popping up to offer COVID testing, but they lack accreditation, and that should be of concern to customers. With our accreditation, CVM is operating legally and within the regulations.
While those clinics may be unaware of the rules and implications, they are testing without proper licensure.
Fortunately, our extensive history with healthcare accreditation and quality assurance allowed the process with the regulators here in British Columbia to proceed smoothly, resulting in CVM Medical receiving high marks on our accreditation site inspection.”