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How Intermountain Healthcare gets top marks for virtual care

Telehealth has been operationally implemented within Intermountain Healthcare since 2015, with pilots running for quite some time prior.

As a centralized service, it had been possible to activate with an easy consortium of departments such as for example legal, finance, marketing, compliance and physician affairs to build up models, find out about the nuances of implementing telehealth being an embedded service, and build relationships clinical leadership on the opportunities.

Because of this, clinical services continued to take into account telehealth delivery options and expand access for patients into rural locations.

Embracing the telehealth opportunity

Core acute services such as for example crisis care, critical care, hospitalists, neurology and newborn embraced the chance and found success in providing care while reducing unnecessary patient transfers and mortality, and improving usage of these services.

These services initially used an internally developed telehealth platform with TV room kits and mobile carts as patient care connection points.

In 2016, medical system launched Connect Care Urgent Care on the Amwell Direct to Consumer platform to greatly help patients receive low-acuity care 24/7 rather than likely to the er or waiting until other care options were available.

This kind of service was not used to Utah and required extensive communications with communities and caregivers. As time passes it is becoming Intermountain’s largest urgent care service and today is adding behavioral health insurance and other care options.

Expanding collaborations with other hospitals

“In 2020, we converted the inner acute care services to the Amwell Hospital platform,” said Brian Wayling, telehealth services associate vice president at Intermountain Healthcare.

“The conversion allowed Intermountain to spotlight healthcare delivery across all 25 hospitals and expand our collaborations with critical access hospitals over the Intermountain West.

“The individual experience was completely rethought to include a white-glove onboarding process that included improved communication, education materials and pre-visit dedicated technical outreach.”

Brian Wayling, Intermountain Healthcare

“The platform is really a single integrated technology that services may use to supply inpatient care to almost 1,500 rooms and locations,” he explained.

“It allows the critical care team to round on patients having an average daily census of around 180 patients across multiple facilities, provides neurology team immediate access into emergency rooms for stroke care, and allows crisis care to serve patients experiencing mental health issues.”

The caregiver has full control over a robust high-definition PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) camera, audio controls, and night vision capabilities to facilitate direct patient engagement. Additionally, cultural and language services are often put into any stop by at ensure patients receive care in virtually any of 200 languages.

“Fundamentally, the wide dispersion of telehealth has helped Intermountain build upon our core tenants of care delivery increased access, reduced costs, consistent patient care and improved caregiver engagement irrespective of patient location,” Wayling stated.

Getting care nearer to home

“With an increase of than 500 clinicians accessing the platform regularly to supply care to almost 70 hospitals in nine states, Intermountain has helped thousands of patients receive care nearer to home, assisted local care teams in learning new skills while looking after higher acuity patients, and expanded care standards to make sure appropriate, cost-effective care is provided,” he continued.

Telehealth has been cited among the reasons Utah has among the lowest rates of critical access hospital closure over the U.S., he added.

Along with these core forms of services, Intermountain has enabled all clinical services having an EHR-embedded telehealth platform for outpatient care. The visits are conducted via personal devices and may be dynamic or scheduled to boost patient access.

At this time, Intermountain uses Amwell exclusively for several video-based telehealth services. The platform works with the Cerner EHR. Medical system is exploring options on how best to best align with other EHRs now used within Intermountain Healthcare.

Secured and protected

“The platform also works together with credit cards merchant for payment processing, multiple payers for insurance verification, and our revenue cycle platform for claims processing,” Wayling explained.

“Through the years, telehealth services in addition has worked extensively with Intermountain Technology Services especially with cybersecurity and networking to make sure our patient data is secure and protected.

“Our network team has secured usage of bandwidth to make sure all sites of care are fully with the capacity of providing and receiving care without disruption or fragmentation of audio and video,” he added.

By Q2 2022, Intermountain has earned a Press Ganey Top Box Score greater than 80% because of its scheduled video visit service, with patients requesting more digital engagement because they learn about the choice. For behavioral health outpatient visits, the very best Box Score is 89%.

“These results were attained by concentrating on platform stability, patient education, and provider training and support,” Wayling said.

“Specific improvements to the platform included increasing the entire network bandwidth by 10-times to aid the demand for scheduled visits and implementing a robust network monitoring solution that allowed us to pinpoint problem areas and address with configuration improvements and equipment updates.

“The individual experience was completely rethought to include a white-glove onboarding process that included improved communication, education materials and pre-visit dedicated technical outreach,” he continued.

Support line for providers

Provider support also was a focus as Intermountain implemented a separate provider tech support team line for video visit troubleshooting. Additional training on guidelines and “web-side manner” is provided being an ongoing service for new and existing providers by means of one-on-one coaching.

Intermountain was awarded $730,008 from the FCC telehealth grant program for smartphones, tablets, video conferencing equipment, and different monitoring and telehealth platforms and applications with which providers can remotely assess COVID-19 patients, conduct remote monitoring for high-risk patients through the use of specially configured technology kits, offer patients usage of health care and opinions from providers anywhere, and educate people and answer questions about COVID-19.

Twitter:@SiwickiHealthIT

Email the writer:bsiwicki@himss.org

Healthcare IT News is really a HIMSS Media publication.

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