The rapid upscaling of a telemonitoring program in which health care providers performed daily telemedicine check-ins on COVID-19 patients faced a unique set of challenges. How these were resolved, and early outcomes are reported in the peer-reviewed journal Telemedicine and e-Health.
"Kaiser Permanente's Virtual Home Care Program (VHCP) was able to rapidly establish a telemedicine-based program for the management of COVID-19 positive patients in the DC and Baltimore Metro regions. Preliminary data suggest that such a program may be effective in keeping patients out of the hospital and/or emergency room," stated James Shaw, MD, Med-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, and coauthors.
The researchers described three main challenges. The constant flow of providers into and out of the program. Challenges in the management of Spanish-speaking patients and the need for translators. The initial lack of an alert system in the pulse oximetry program to alert patients and providers when a patient registered a low oxygen reading.
The COVID-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity for telemedicine and telehealth to grow exponentially. Kaiser's work in the DC Metro area is a testament to providers developing and implementing new ways in rapid fashion in order to maximize health care delivery."
Charles R. Doarn, MBA, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal and Research Professor and Director of the Master of Public Health Program, Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences, University of Cincinnati, Ohio
Shaw, J. G., et al. (2021) A Novel Large Scale Integrated Telemonitoring Program for COVID-19. Telemedicine and e-Health. doi.org/10.1089/tmj.2020.0384.