Using Telehealth in a Pandemic: Focus on Flexibility, Scalability
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This article originally appeared on the mHealth Intelligence website.
Out in Renton, WA, the Providence St. Joseph Health system was caught in the middle of the first wave of Coronavirus cases. But Aaron Martin, Executive Vice President and Chief Digital Officer for the six-state, 51-hospital health system, says leadership had recognized the value of virtual care six years ago and had the infrastructure in place to tackle the surge.
Still, he says, they were caught by surprise by a tenfold increase in telehealth visits and a sevenfold jump in care providers joining the platform.
“We had to move very quickly from feature-driven (virtual health offerings) to scale-driven,” he says. “We basically jumped forward 10 years on the adoption curve.”
Martin says PSJ has a large digital health innovation program, employing some 120 software engineers and producing more than a few tools and incubator spin-outs, like Xealth. The health system also partners with telehealth and mHealth companies to test out the latest in tools and services.