“This is a time for leadership,” says Axxess CEO and Dallas Regional Chamber Chair John Olajide, about how the Dallas business community is responding to COVID-19. “This is uncharted territory for everyone.”
These days, Olajide’s time is spent balancing his role as DRC chair and running Axxess, which provides software solutions to home health providers. In a meeting this week with other DRC leaders about how to best support COVID-19 response efforts, Olajide said he was impressed by the commitment of the community. “Early and bold action” is needed, he says.
Dallas-based AT&T is removing caps on data usage and opening up services to healthcare workers and low income communities, Atmos Energy has temporarily suspended natural gas disconnections, and TXU Energy is waiving late fees and extending payment dates. Olajide said one message is coming through loud and clear for the business community: “It is collaboration, collaboration, collaboration.”
During a time of social isolation, effective home health has become even more important. Olajide’s company provides software to those caring for the most vulnerable, including those in nursing homes. The epicenter in the United States for the virus was a nursing home in Seattle. Olajide says the software already had solutions for emergency preparedness and infection control, and he the company is busy educating clients on how to use those tools to best care for the patients, as the providers have to put themselves in harms way if they are to care for their patients.
Because Axxess is so widely used throughout the country with tens of thousands of nurses on the platform, it is well-positioned to be a source of thought leadership on the topic and educate the entire home health industry about how to stay safe. Guidance around social distancing and other COVID-responses such as seeing patients in parking lots have also been part of that guidance.
Through home health advocacy organizations, Olajide has been participating in making sure the industry can better respond to the crisis, leading CMS to lighten restrictions in a number of areas, including allowing nurses to practice in states where they are not licensed and waiving requirements to allow virtual visits to take place using non-HIPAA compliant technologies like FaceTime.
Olajide also emphasized the importance of staying connected, even though people may be socially distancing, as mental health can hinder our ability to stay physically healthy. “We are a lot more connected than we realize, and we need to make sure everyone can deal with the physical distance,” he says.
As he leans into his role as a leader for Dallas and beyond, Olajide is hopeful about the response of the business community even in times of crisis. “We need to galvanize for collective action and mobilize the entire business community,” he says.