Telehealth is an increasingly vital tool for the healthcare community. Healthcare organizations across the United States need rapid deployment of telehealth solutions to meet the growing demand for services related to COVID-19. These organizations include some of the largest health systems in the country, public health organizations and national outpatient provider groups.
Among its many uses, telehealth solutions allow healthcare organizations to immediately and broadly communicate urgent information to their patients.
Critically, telehealth also enables healthcare providers to screen patients remotely for the COVID-19 virus and to quickly and safely assess a patient’s symptoms and determine if the patient needs in-person care, thus minimizing unnecessary exposure and unnecessarily tying up much-needed resources.
WWT has been working with healthcare organizations to urgently enable telehealth as part of COVID-19 response. This has included procuring, configuring and deploying hardware; optimizing existing infrastructure; and developing new mobile capabilities through custom software. We have also assisted in rapidly developing training materials for clinicians and patients through our Adoption Services team.
Improvised telehealth carts
Hospitals need to remotely screen and monitor patients during and after intake. With telehealth carts in short supply, hospitals are needing stripped-down carts with features only needed for COVID-19.
For one large US hospital, we mounted Cisco Telepresence units on rolling poles to create a cost-effective telehealth cart. The carts were deployed in two days versus the traditional lead time of weeks that it normally takes to design, procure and implement a telehealth solution.
The hospital has been using the solution to provide remote COVID-19 screening within hours, protecting patients and healthcare staff. This solution also helps decrease the rate of consumption of personal protective equipment (PPE) by allowing clinicians to visit patients virtually.
Communication via existing patient applications
A large Healthcare Organization needed to quickly modify their mobile patient app to update users about COVID-19 and provide telehealth video visits for triage, allowing patients to avoid potentially unnecessary trips to the emergency room.
For one large healthcare partner, our application services team integrated a telehealth solution into their electronic health records database (EHR) and worked with the platform vendor to expedite and optimize functionalities. A virtual visit solution—including a coupon to incent patients to schedule screenings— was integrated into their mobile patient scheduling application within six days to create an optimized user experience while ensuring correct data flow to drive efficiency.
We also enabled the health system to make their app available nationally, providing telehealth care for patients throughout the country. They are rolling out their telehealth solution to more than 6,500 of their providers nationwide to meet the growing demand for virtual visits during this critical time.
Patient appointments went from zero, in some cases, to hundreds of virtual appointments within one day of launching telehealth.
Converting standard patient rooms to quarantine rooms
A healthcare organization needed to convert standard patient rooms into quarantine rooms with remote observation. Placing two-way cameras that do not require underlying infrastructure in each room has allowed the organization to conserve PPE and limit face-to-face interactions, reducing risk of exposure to the healthcare providers. This also allowed clinicians to monitor patients more closely and monitor multiple patients from a single centralized location.
Solutions for telehealth were implemented within days for these healthcare organizations. The technologies and services involved in creating these solutions ranged from application development, hardware provisioning and procurement, implementation, end-user training and more. In each of these cases, our team enabled organizations to respond rapidly and leverage new tools to care for their patients and communities.