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As part of its Coronavirus Prep series, This Week in Health IT speaks to CIOs & CMIOs to discuss what they are doing and can be doing to prepare for COVID-19 in their communities. Special thanks to series sponsor and Galen partner, Sirius Healthcare.
In our own blog series, we will be providing our top takeaways from those conversations with the intent of spreading best practices among Health IT and healthcare delivery organizations to prepare for the anticipated surge in demand for care due to COVID-19.
Next up is Dr. David McSwain, CMIO, Medical University of South Carolina
- I’ve been involved with in telehealth for over a decade having been heavily involved both at MUSC and nationally. We’ve done a lot of of work through the American Academy of Pediatrics, developing an organization called SPROUT, which supports the development of multi-centered telehealth research project to prove the value it provides. We received a $3.6MM NIH grant in 2019 through National Center for Advanced Transitional Sciences.
- We are fortunate MUSC has been doing telehealth and virtually care for over a decade and we put in so much work over the years to create an infrastructure that would allow for a response with telehealth like we have today.
- The key issue is to get telehealth working from within our electronic medical record so that providers are initiating the visits from the EMR, ensuring security and privacy, and providing for a better workflow. Using tools available within Epic to allow providers to substitute in-office visits for virtual visits using video or telephone and still be able to document within the medical record and bill for those visits. Having the personnel with the expertise to be able to respond so quickly has been incredibly beneficial.
- We are developing remote home monitoring program for patients who have tested positive for COVID-19. As part of that, we will use patient entered data as well as peripheral devices like oxygen saturation monitors with Bluetooth connectivity going through a mobile application with a FHIR connection into the electronic medical record, using a registry and disseminating the data.
- We are also using virtual PPE, meaning that we have telehealth that operates through Epic in every inpatient room. This allows providers to be virtually present, as well as family members, for patients who would otherwise be under extreme isolation.
- For those that are starting from scratch, I don’t want to get into endorsing products, but there is one – doxy.me – that is free and providers easy access to providers around the country. That said there is more to a telehealth consult than just the video connection. You have to make sure the documented visit gets back to the EMR.
This Week in Health IT is also collecting resources and links designed to help health systems respond to and inform their communities around the Coronavirus. Visit their COVID-19 Resources for Health Systems page.