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Rapid Deployment of Inpatient Telemedicine In Response to COVID-19 Across Three Health Systems.

Vilendrer S, Patel B, Chadwick W, Hwa M, Asch S, Pageler N, Ramdeo R, Saliba-Gustafsson EA, Strong P, Sharp C. Rapid Deployment of Inpatient Telemedicine In Response to COVID-19 Across Three Health Systems. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association : JAMIA. 2020 Jul 1; 27(7):1102-1109.

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Abstract:

OBJECTIVE: To reduce pathogen exposure, conserve personal protective equipment, and facilitate health care personnel work participation in the setting of the COVID-19 pandemic, three affiliated institutions rapidly and independently deployed inpatient telemedicine programs during March 2020. We describe key features and early learnings of these programs in the hospital setting. METHODS: Relevant clinical and operational leadership from an academic medical center, pediatric teaching hospital, and safety net county health system met to share learnings shortly after deploying inpatient telemedicine. A summative analysis of their learnings was re-circulated for approval. RESULTS: All three institutions faced pressure to urgently standup new telemedicine systems while still maintaining secure information exchange. Differences across patient demographics and technological capabilities led to variation in solution design, though key technical considerations were similar. Rapid deployment in each system relied on readily available consumer-grade technology, given the existing familiarity to patients and clinicians and minimal infrastructure investment. Preliminary data from the academic medical center over one month suggested positive adoption with 631 inpatient video calls lasting an average (standard deviation) of 16.5 minutes (19.6) based on inclusion criteria. DISCUSSION: The threat of an imminent surge of COVID-19 patients drove three institutions to rapidly develop inpatient telemedicine solutions. Concurrently, federal and state regulators temporarily relaxed restrictions that would have previously limited these efforts. Strategic direction from executive leadership, leveraging off-the-shelf hardware, vendor engagement, and clinical workflow integration facilitated rapid deployment. CONCLUSION: The rapid deployment of inpatient telemedicine is feasible across diverse settings as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.





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