Community hospital IT priorities amid the pandemic: 4 key thoughts

Below is an excerpt from the panel. Click here to view the panel recording as needed. Note: the responses are gently edited for clarity and length.

At the Beckers Healthcare Community Hospitals Virtual Forum on Oct. 12, a panel of healthcare leaders collected to discuss what large health systems can learn from neighborhood hospitals.

Q: Dr. Rhoades, what are the distinct aspects of medical groups at neighborhood healthcare facilities? How do they continuously improve patient care and experience?

As the health care landscape modifications, a few of the crucial qualities and efforts that community hospitals have actually been working on for several years are now vital for bigger companies as well

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The 2nd half of your concern as far as the medical groups, we have 2 large groups [for cardiology services]; ones a hospital-operated group and the other is an independent group and then we have a series of independent cardiologists. We wish to connect into the stratosphere with cardiology programs and structural heart programs, truly doing cutting edge things along the elements of electrophysiology or cardiac arrest. We cant do that with simply one medical group or with one cardiologist; we require them to be able to partner with one another and when they see this as a program that we can bring to our healthcare facility, its a lot more collaborative and cooperative. Were able to leverage our partnership in specializeds like cardiology with our infectious illness groups, with our ICU teams and others in the pandemic and really use that to our benefit.

That was type of our most significant experience with the telehealth prior to [the pandemic], however I think we saw benefits for both our medical staff and for the clients by being able to take a mobile phone, a tablet, into the patients space and they might have a check out with the supplier. If it was not necessarily a COVID favorable client, it conserved the provider having to put on PPE and risk direct exposure even. We were using telehealth for all in-patient interactions generally based upon company preference.

The panel included: Aaron Herbel, CEO of Mercy Hospital in Moundridge, Kan. Harsha Upadhyay, regional CEO at Prime Healthcare William Rhoades, DO, primary medical officer of Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill. Mark Pratt, MD, director of solutions management at Allscripts.

Dr. William Rhoades: I would echo a lot of what Aaron stated about telehealth. I believe we are visiting it continue. We certainly had goals to get telehealth off and running in 2020; we had no concept that we d be breaking through those objectives. What appears like a years worth of operate in telehealth occurred in 6 months, which is wonderful. One particular element weve seen at our health center is our capability to make a psychiatrist to the bedside of a client in the intense care hospital a lot quicker offered than we had previously [through telehealth]

Question: Aaron, might you tell us about Mercys telehealth method and facilities. How did the lessons you discovered prior to the pandemic provide you an advantage when making virtual care more extensive?

Aaron Herbel: Our method, like throughout all of the services that we provide, is to fulfill the patient where they are and supply them the service in a format that satisfies their needs. That care delivery technique applies to telehealth just the same as it does to any other way of supplying care. Undoubtedly, we added innovation, we added gadgets in our facility given that this pandemic started that have allowed us to have more capacity. Prior to we had one or 2 designated workstations in the health center that were rather mobile but were mainly centered on the ED shipment area. Most of our telehealth prior to COVID-19 was tele-psychiatry in our emergency clinic.

Q: Mark, what are the most intriguing efforts youve seen at neighborhood medical facilities that could use to larger organizations?

Healthcare facilities are also now able to use data that wasnt present before EHRs. Being able to use analytics tools to look at your patient information throughout populations and make choices. I heard from a healthcare facility that has to report COVID data to 18 various firms on a daily basis and so being able to assist from a technology viewpoint, whether its mining your information or being able to provide that digitally without having to problem humans with it is definitely something that innovation has allowed us to do.

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Harsha Upadhyay: With everything going on I would desire to continue to press for virtual care platforms within my health centers and in my region and in basic in Prime Healthcare since this is something which I really believe in is to give care to the clients in a comfy setting and at a hassle-free the time that they choose. I believe we will continue to push for about care outside of the 4 walls of the health center, which is more in need right now.

Q: Next I wish to discuss 2021 concerns and method for your company. Harsha, given the current health care environment, what are your top concerns for the next year?

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Harsha Upadhyay, local CEO at Prime Healthcare William Rhoades, DO, primary medical officer of Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill. We cant do that with just one medical group or with one cardiologist; we require them to be able to partner with one another and when they see this as a program that we can bring to our healthcare facility, its a lot more collaborative and cooperative. Harsha Upadhyay: With whatever going on I would desire to continue to push for virtual care platforms within my healthcare facilities and in my area and in general in Prime Healthcare because this is something which I genuinely believe in is to give care to the patients in a comfy setting and at a practical the time that they pick. I think we will continue to press for about care outside of the 4 walls of the hospital, which is more in demand right now. The overall message is those patients that can get a virtual visit ought to get it and those patients who have a major medical condition should come back to a medical facility and receive care securely.

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Weve seen a decrease by 40 to 42 percent of the elective volume and ED volume being available in and not whatever is associated with clients really all of an unexpected feeling much better, they are just reluctant to come into a setting where they believe that their care could be compromised. We are seeing a great deal of these things going unnoticed and when clients do be available in, we see the acuity of those clients is relatively high. So, I desire to reassure that they can return in a setting which is safe for them and dependable in terms of not contracting COVID-19 and passing it on to their member of the family. The total message is those clients that can get a virtual check out should get it and those clients who have a major medical condition ought to return to a healthcare facility and receive care securely. That is my concern for 2020.