This technology has helped the health system to navigate the pandemic. At the same time, it had expanded into remote patient monitoring and other types of virtual care.
M Health Fairview, a Minneapolis-based health system, last year received the award worth $598000 from the FCC telehealth program. It had received the fund for connecting tablets to their assigned patients in their inpatient setting for video capabilities with medical staff and other family members.
Other tablets would be mobile and update to move the patient from their nursing station to offer palliative care services. It would help them to avoid potential prolonged exposure to COVID-19.
Before having telemedicine technology in place, M Health Fairview was only capable of offering specialty care and other services throughout its 10 hospitals.
Otherwise, those patients needed to get care after the discharge from the hospital. It would take place with a transfer to a hospital with their specialty offering if emergent.
In case a patient has a neurological issue and arrives in a hospital that does not have a neurologist, then they need a special assessment. These treatments can prevent disability and even death. Additionally, patients usually prefer to stay in a hospital that is closer to their homes. It helps them to get enough support from their family and friends.
During the pandemic, the health system’s specialty physicians and some of the non-specialist doctors had to limit the amount of time that they spent in close quarters with Covid patients.
Working in quarantine comes with many potential risks. It prevents them from having coverage of the critical specialties in hospitals in case a provider gets exposed to Covid.
However, with the use of iPads bought with FCC grants, they have deployed 1500 devices. It helped them to spread their ability to offer the primary team, specialty physician, and other services.
A physician or other healthcare workers, pastoral care, hospice, diabetes educators, etc., can look out in a patient’s chart to find out a unique code. It would allow them to connect virtually to a patient in their room
The pandemic has kick-started this work and enabled them to test it in various ways. The health system plans to continue to develop its best practices and will go on to learn how it can sustain this practice. It will help them to continue even after the pandemic.