Dr. Karyn Baum Helps Prepare the M Health Fairview System for Surge of COVID-19 Patients

Karyn Baum, MD, MSED, MHA

“I started as an internal medicine intern at the University of Minnesota Medical School in the fall of 1995. My boyfriend at the time, now husband, and I fell in love with the Twin Cities as a place to live, so I joined the faculty at the Medical School directly out of residency, and I’ve been here ever since,” Dr. Baum said.

Dr. Baum has held several different roles at the Medical School during her tenure. This past October, she was appointed as vice president for System Clinical Operations for M Health Fairview. Additionally, she holds faculty appointments in the Medical School and the School of Public Health.

Preparing for a Surge

“One of my main priorities during the COVID-19 pandemic has been surge planning for the M Health Fairview system,” Dr. Baum said.

Dr. Baum helps manage patient placement for eight hospitals within the system, including the Bethesda Hospital––with the intent of keeping everything running smoothly.

“All of it comes back to being as prepared as we possibly can, so that we can take care of as many patients as we possibly can, as well as we can,” Dr. Baum said. “That means also trying, whenever possible, to lift the burden from our frontline providers.”

In an attempt to help lessen that burden on those frontline workers, she instituted a new triage hospitalist position, which assists with the coordination of transferring COVID-19 patients into and around the health system, and developed a rotation for medical students in the system operations center.

“We also have a handful of medical students every two weeks who come as part of their intensive care unit rotation,” Dr. Baum said. “I can’t even begin to tell you how valuable they are. Helping with chart reviews, preparing discharge summaries, completing literature searches––it’s been a tremendous value add. And hopefully, a great experience for them as well.”

 

Keeping Up the Momentum

“It’s pretty amazing. I think we’ve really come together as a system in ways that we haven’t before,” Dr. Baum said. “We took things that we’ve always wanted to do and always felt were important, and were able to actually implement them––and quickly.”

Dr. Baum hopes that the system can keep the best of what it’s done and make it permanent. 

“The health and the education systems really had to pull together and communicate well for this effort to be successful––and hopefully, that’s something that we’ll be able to maintain in the long run,” Dr. Baum said. “I think the pandemic helped people both inside and outside of the system really understand the power of M Health Fairview.”

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