Agility and Innovation in Neurodiagnostics During COVID-19

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christopher moses on the job

As EEG Manager at Northwell Health in New York, Chris Moses covers the central and western regions of the hospital. It is a service line role, where he goes to all facilities to perform quality checks, training, onboarding, accreditation, troubleshooting of any equipment issues, etc., from Bay Shore to the Chappaqua region.

COVID-19 made it harder for Chis to get into the facilities he managed now that everything needed to be virtual. This hurt his interaction with staff and all the technologists who work across the EEG service lines. Northwell’s focus was always around the safety of the technologists. Procedures like hyperventilation were discontinued in order to ensure techs were as safe as possible. Depending on the condition of the patient, routine and baseline EEGs before Long-Term Monitoring studies were also discontinued in order to decrease the amount of time the techs were interacting with patients.

“When the pandemic began, there was a lot of uncertainty for techs,” Chris said. “That’s where my role came in; to assure them that here at Northwell, we’re doing the best we can for them. We want to make sure they are happy and satisfied.”

It was overwhelming for many of his technologists when family members and patients in the hospital died of COVID-19. There was also the worry and stress of being exposed in the hospital and whether one could pass it to their family. Sometimes, Chris found his technologists would call him just to talk about their concerns and anxieties. Northwell also helped equip their staff with resources, such as meditation rooms and people to talk to about these situations, which helped managers like Chris a great deal. They even organized help with childcare and other things to help families, and Chris’ role became more about helping the staff, easing their minds and assuring them, which was very challenging because people were scared.

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In order to prevent techs from contracting COVID-19, many of Chris’ staff were furloughed initially, as was the case in many facilities. The concern was that if the staff were all together, and if one caught the virus, then everyone would be suspected as exposed. Then, the whole service line would be out on quarantine. Furlough schedules were developed to limit the number of technologists on-site at any given time. EEG services scheduled one person on each shift from a team of 8 EEG technologists in total.

During the furloughs, Chris continued to encourage his technologists to get registered, keep their minds on EEG, and practice their trade. He got creative and developed what he called Quarantine Quizzes to keep his team engaged and learning. Quarantine Quizzes of different EEG samples and case studies were emailed to staff, encouraging them to submit a technical impression in order to give them opportunities for EEG record review and to answer questions about unique or unusual studies.

“The team loved it,” Chris said. Every week, staff met via Microsoft Teams to review the QQ of the week and to answer any questions. It worked out well, the response from his team was great, and everyone participated. These extra educational opportunities Chris created are not outlined in his job description, but he makes the extra effort to keep his staff’s focus on education and to inspire them to sit for the EEG board exam.

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During COVID-19, Chris says the ASET website and COVID-19 Resources offered a variety of greatly needed information — how to don and doff PPE, recommendations for performing limited studies and increased infection prevention measures, etc.

“If you are a Neurodiagnostic technologist, you go to ASET with your questions,” said Chris. “The resources and standard practice documents that ASET develops are so important. Resources for EEG technologists in NY are so limited, but ASET is always accessible from anywhere.”

One silver lining that came from the pandemic was 3Cs Production, a concept developed by Chris, his sister, Clarissa, and her fiancé, Caron, which hosts virtual parties. 3Cs was born from his sister’s birthday in March 2020. The event was so popular with her friends and their family, others immediately began asking for their own hosted parties, and it just blossomed from there.

christopher moses with his family

“A lot of that [3Cs events] was my therapy,” said Chris. “We created virtual parties for people during this pandemic when they were going through everything… They could come on here, have a party, have a good time. That made me feel better.”

In 2020, 3Cs hosted over 100 virtual events, many of them were corporate events from Chase Bank to AARP. They hosted holiday parties and even an event with Martin Lawrence! 3Cs also holds memorials and funerals for free for anyone who passes from COVID-19. Chris learned that while working parties from his home, he could often involve his wife (to do slides and spotlighting) and even his kids, so it became a family event that kept everyone’s spirits high.

“With everything going on, people were so happy to still enjoy being together even in a virtual environment,” said Chris. “They would tell me this was a breath of fresh air… Being able to provide that service for people made us happy, plus you know, we’re having a party every single weekend! ….I was having a good time seeing people have a good time.”

Author: Anna Bonner, BA, R. EEG T., RPSGT, Director of Publications, ASET

Editor: Aman Ayalew, MA, Marketing Manager, ASET

This blog is written as part of ASET’s Neurodiagnostic Week story series that highlights the experience of Neurodiagnostic technologists during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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