M Health Fairview bets on telehealth with $ 600K in FCC funds

Last year, M Health Fairview, a Minneapolis-based healthcare system, received $ 598,000 from the FCC’s telemedicine funding program for connected tablets intended for inpatients for video tours with healthcare workers.

Before the advent of telemedicine technology, M Health Fairview could only offer special care and other services such as palliative care or diabetes education to patients in its 10 hospitals if there was someone there to “assemble” (coming in person to see a patient) in this hospital.

Without the technology

Otherwise, these patients should receive such care after discharge from the hospital or transfer this special gift to the hospital, if applicable.

“If a patient has a neurological problem such as a stroke and goes to the hospital without a neurologist, they may not be able to receive the type of emergency care that requires special examination,” Drs. Susan Pleasants, Health Information Manager at M Health Display

“These solutions can prevent disability and even death and avoid serious consequences that can be avoided with proper care,” he said.

In addition, patients generally prefer to stay in a hospital near their home if that is an option because their family or friends can provide the support that we know will be involved in the management process. At the hospital, to go home quickly, but it is better to stick to hospital care because the family is there for a discussion about what to do, ”he said.

During the course of COVID-19 infection, health professionals in the health system, as well as some non-specialist doctors (such as hospitals), limit their time to patients with COVID-19.

Working in quarantine

“We also had the potential risk that we would not have insurance coverage for critical specialties in hospitals if a supplier was exposed to COVID-19 – for example positive tests on a child at home – and if he was not allowed to come on-site, but could.” work away from home because they were just in quarantine – not really sick, “said Pleasants.

“Using iPads acquired with our FCC grant, we have implemented 1,500 devices with the Cisco Polycom application,” she said. “We have been able to offer our primary, specialist, and other educational services in all of our hospitals.

“This could be a doctor or other medical staff – hospice, pastoral care, diabetes educators, pharmacists, nurses, etc. – Look in a patient record for a unique code that allows you to almost connect with a patient in your room after the local team has switched it on and set it up to address the patient. “

They could assess the patient’s condition with or without the assistance of local nurses during the examination and even invite a family member to come home to find out about their care in their absence.

“Through this COVID-19 experience, we have determined that there are family members who may be out of town, or unable to come to the hospital due to their own illness, or who may not arrive at the right time, discharge orders from nurses who are responsible for a successful homecoming and staying after hospitalization are crucial. “

With this technology, employees can take family members to the hospital without entering the building, she said.

When the pandemic ends

The pandemic initiated this work and enabled M Health Fairview to test it in ways that pre-pandemic insurance payment models did not allow (for example, these services could only be provided in extremely rural hospitals). The health system intends to continue to develop best practices and learn how to promote these types of practices when the public health emergency ends.

“We have a lot of hospitals that are not in the big cities but not really in the countryside,” that is not big enough to support even a small subset of the 100+ specialties our organization has to offer, “Said Pleasants.

Therefore, continuing to provide access to specialist care in all of our facilities is an important strategy, and we continue to nurture and anchor ourselves in our daily practice. . “

Outside of FCC funding, the health system has expanded telehealth services to its circulatory clinics, with a massive increase from a few virtual visits to 30,000 circulating video visits per month.