Fisher-Titus Medical Center expands virtual patient access in response to COVID-19 pandemic.
“This was a one-stop for physicians to meet their patients during COVID. No need to pull in another device or system.”
As COVID-19 lockdowns began to take effect in April 2020, Fisher-Titus Medical Center found itself in need of a virtual visit solution. Linda Stevenson, chief information officer, and Dr. Glenn Trippe, chief medical information officer, were tasked to implement such a solution.
As a stopgap, the team assembled a virtual visit system comprised of iPads, Microsoft Teams, and Office 365. This system met the immediate need by enabling Fisher-Titus Medical Center to conduct more than 2,500 1 video visits in April 2020.
As time went on, this solution was found to be “clunky at best.” To resolve this problem, Stevenson decided to collaborate with Cerner and Amwell, a telehealth solution and digital health service, in order to roll out a streamlined solution by 2022. However, the immediate need for a long-term solution led to implementing the rollout sooner than expected.
Fisher-Titus Medical Center chose Amwell as its video visit vendor because it met three core requirements for the new system: remove the need for a dual-scheduling process, streamline the pre-visit rooming workflow, and enable providers to simultaneously document virtual visits in Cerner Millennium without toggling between multiple windows.
Cerner and Amwell, in collaboration with Dr. Trippe and his team, designed a virtual rooming process mirroring an in-person workflow. Additionally, staff worked with Amwell to enable providers to launch virtual visits within Cerner Millennium and use a picture-in-picture feature to display the patient’s video in a separate window while viewing the patient’s chart. These features were implemented through the collaborative efforts of Fisher-Titus Medical Center, Cerner, and Amwell in just over six months.2 After implementation, staffers began to see the benefits of this new streamlined approach to their virtual visit program.
The picture-in-picture feature helped enable a simultaneous view of the patient and the EHR, meaning designated video stations and other additional devices were no longer needed. Providers now had the flexibility to conduct visits from laptops or tablets on a single screen, from a location of their choice.
Telehealth and virtual medicine are not only here to stay but will make up a major piece of our future business. Blood pressure monitoring, diabetes management, behavioral health, post-op care—much of it could be done in telehealth.
“I’m just looking at an explosive future. Prior to COVID, telehealth was a niche. Now it is a mainstream piece of medicine to be further developed,” says Trippe.
According to Linda Stevenson, Fisher-Titus will continue its work with Cerner. “We are a long-term Cerner partner, since 2009. And we just signed an extension through 2030.”
1 Based on data provided by Fisher-Titus Health System, FTMC conducted a total of 2,562 virtual visits in April 2020, pre-Amwell kick-off June 1, 2020.
2 FTMC Amwell project kicked off on June 1, 2020 and went live on December 30, 2020.