Delta Air Lines and Mayo Clinic, a global leader in serious and complex medical care, are deepening their relationship to provide additional safety and COVID-19 infection control measures for customers and employees. The collaboration is another significant step in Delta’s efforts to build upon its foundation of care and cleanliness, known as the Delta CareStandard, to mitigate the risk of transmitting COVID-19 during travel.
“There’s nothing more important than the health and safety of our people and our customers. As we continue adjusting our business to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission, there’s no organization in the world better equipped than the Mayo Clinic to act as Delta’s medical advisor,” says Ed Bastian, CEO – Delta Air Lines. “The role Mayo will play in testing our employees and advising on safety practices at airports and work spaces will help deliver the additional layers of protection needed to safeguard our customers and employees.”
The Delta CareStandard layers of protection, along with other measures that protect employees, in part contributed to a significant decrease in the number of employees testing positive for COVID-19 between April and May. Since May, the number of employees testing positive is well below the national average. Delta is working closely with expert advisors at Mayo Clinic to review, enhance and continuously improve health and safety protocols.
“The health and safety of employees and customers continues to be our priority during this time of unprecedented uncertainty,” says Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., president and chief executive officer, Mayo Clinic. “Mayo Clinic’s expertise in infection prevention and control, as well as our research on COVID-19, provides us with expert insight to support Delta through advisory services, helping to implement best practices to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”
Delta Air Lines will consult with Mayo Clinic on the following:
- COVID-19 Testing for Full Delta Workforce – As one of the first Fortune 100 companies to embark on COVID-19 testing for its entire workforce, Delta views testing as a critical step in protecting the health and safety of employees and customers. Mayo Clinic Laboratories has designed Delta’s employee testing program, assisted in administering diagnostic and serology tests, and will analyze the findings to determine broader trends. Based on the findings, Mayo Clinic will provide recommendations to Delta’s existing policies and procedures, perform workforce risk assessments and review re-testing programs for the ongoing safety of Delta people.
- Establish an Integrated Advisory Council – Comprised of professionals from both organizations, this executive team will meet frequently to review and assess Delta’s health and safety policies and procedures. Mayo Clinic will also provide Delta with ongoing clinical guidance to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 through enhanced safety measures for employees. This council will be co-led by Rob Kight, senior vice president of Human Relations at Delta, and Henry Ting, M.D., chief value officer at Mayo Clinic, and William Morice II, M.D., Ph.D., president of Mayo Clinic Laboratories.
- Customer Health Consulting – Working closely with Delta’s Customer Experience team under the guidance of Bill Lentsch, chief customer experience officer, Mayo Clinic will review and provide guidance on current customer-facing protocols and safeguards in place, and provide counsel on how to enhance these measures for optimal results. In addition, Mayo Clinic will advise Delta on best practices for customers regarding COVID-19 prevention, including the use of effective personal protective equipment, and guidance on how Delta can continue to provide a safe and clean travel experience.
“Satisfaction scores among Delta travelers have been at an all-time high during the pandemic, but as more customers return to travel, we understand they’ll need even greater assurances that Delta experiences are safe,” says Lentsch. “This is a journey with no finish line – and we know that more than three quarters of customers, when asked, share that regular employee testing will help boost their confidence in travel. This is the foundation upon which we will innovate and redefine future travel experiences that ensure we are delivering the safe experiences our customers expect and deserve.”
“Mayo Clinic has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by developing innovations in molecular and antibody testing, therapies including convalescent plasma, and protocols and procedures to protect our staff and patients from the spread of infection,” says Dr. Ting. “We look forward to collaborating with Delta by using advanced analytics and ongoing testing innovations to help their passengers travel as safely as possible.”
Ginger Plumbo, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, [email protected]
This article originally appeared in Mayo Clinic News Network.