Riverwood Healthcare Center, a 25-bed critical access hospital in Aitkin, Minn., quickly deployed a telehealth network to offer patients care virtually from their homes, according to a recent American Hospital Association case study.
To prepare for treating patients during the coronavirus pandemic, RHCC went live on Zoom’s videoconferencing platform. The hospital has been using the virtual care model for the past two weeks.
Here are six tips from RHCC to help other critical access hospitals deploy telehealth during the pandemic, according to the case study:
1. Capitalize on project management skills to effectively divide and conquer telehealth implementation tasks.
2. Plan structured, daily huddles during the implementation period. RHCC staff conducted daily meetings to check in on staff and ensure they were confident with the technology.
3. Train providers before they are scheduled to use telehealth to treat patients. RHCC leaders learned this after the first day of the launch and can now train a provider-nurse team to treat patients via telehealth in less than 10 minutes.
4. Appoint a physician champion to help guide the program and make other clinicians more comfortable with the new technology. RHCC’s chief medical and information officer Tim Arnold, MD, conducted several virtual visits with patients ages 1-96 during the two-week launch of the program.
5. Use and form partnerships to ensure the virtual health program will be successful. RHCC leaders worked closely with the AHA and AVIA, a digital health innovation platform, as well as other hospitals to share tips and best practices.
6. Consider the future of healthcare delivery to keep growing virtual care. RHCC is research artificial intelligence tools than could help expand its virtual care options and manage volume of patient visits.