Telehealth Awareness Week: providing lifesaving access to specialized care

At HCA Healthcare, our care teams work with remote telemedicine specialists to provide quality care 24/7. During the American Telemedicine Association’s (ATA) second annual Telehealth Awareness Week, September 18-24, 2022, we are honoring our telemedicine professionals and teams who work tirelessly to provide our patients with the same standard of care as an in-person visit. To date, more than 442,000 patients have received a telemedicine visit with a provider at any of our organization’s 182 hospitals and more than 2,300 care facilities.

Telemedicine in the emergency room

Director of TeleNeurology working with technology in a hospital room
The neurologist Dr. Sonya Brooks helps lead telemedicine services within HCA Healthcare’s TriStar Division

Our teleneurologists are available for patients who may have suffered a stroke or a neurological problem. Teleneurologists work alongside our Emergency Department (ED) teams and have seen 46,000 cases this year. Working with our EDs, our teleneurology programs have helped reduce the company’s average door-to-needle time from 60 minutes to 37 minutes for stroke patients, where every second counts.

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“We could not have achieved this improvement without the support of our Telehub programs. Additionally, we have leveraged Telehub to provide a higher level of care to communities lacking in-person neurology services,” said Kevin Orndorff, vice president of neuroscience at HCA Healthcare.

Telemedicine in maternal-fetal medicine

This year, more than 9,000 patients with high-risk pregnancies have been able to remain in their obstetrician’s office for access to a maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) expert via virtual telemedicine appointments. Thanks to our telemedicine programs (teleMFM), mothers avoided taking extra time off work, securing extended child care, or traveling to multiple locations.

“Over the next three years, HCA Healthcare will continue to expand access to high-risk maternal care by adding TeleMFM clinics while expanding access to adult and pediatric sub-specialists through telehealth solutions. COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of telemedicine subspecialists and made it easier to scale,” said Holly Elliott, vice president of women’s and children’s services at HCA Healthcare.

Related article: The Maternal-Fetal Medicine Program keeps mothers close to home while increasing access to care.

Telemedicine in behavioral health

More than 39,000 of this year’s telemedicine visits have been to a telepsychiatrist. To connect many of our patients with telepsychiatrists, we use an application developed by HCA Healthcare called Intelligent Routing.

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A dedicated team of non-clinical patient care liaisons within our National Contact Center Management (NCCM) group uses 24/7 intelligent routing to assign a provider to the next patient in line. How does it work? The NCCM coordinates with the frontline care teams to confirm that the patient is ready, the telemedicine device is set up, and the provider and patient then correspond for a meaningful consultation.

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Telemedicine brings our care to you

Nurse with mask next to telemedicine equipment.
Tami Speed, a registered nurse and stroke coordinator at Alaska Regional Hospital, consults with teleneurologist Dr. Adam Graham.

With 1,082 telemedicine programs across our organization, we strive to find new ways to bring innovative models of healthcare to our patients and caregivers. Our team is working to expand service line capacity in HCA Healthcare hospitals and outpatient care centers. These programs will help support a wide range of patients, from the smallest newborns in our Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) to patients supported by HCA Healthcare’s Healthcare at Home and Hospice & Family Care.

As more of our patients and doctors have positive experiences with telemedicine, we can build a sustainable model for the future of healthcare.

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