Telehealth Awareness Week: providing lifesaving access to specialized care

Throughout HCA Healthcare, our care teams partner with remote telehealth clinicians to deliver around-the-clock high-quality care. In observance of the American Telemedicine Association’s (ATA) second annual Telehealth Awareness Week, Sept. 18-24, 2022, we honor our telehealth practitioners and teams who work tirelessly to deliver the same standard of care as an in-person visit to our patients. To date, more than 442,000 patients have had a telehealth visit with a provider at one of our organization’s 182 hospitals and more than 2,300 sites of care.

Telehealth in the emergency department

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

Our teleneurologists stand by for patients who may have suffered a stroke or neurological issue. The teleneurologists work alongside our emergency department (ED) teams and have consulted on 46,000 cases already this year. In partnership with our EDs, our teleneurology programs have supported the reduction of enterprise median door-to-needle times from 60 minutes to 37 minutes for stroke patients, where every second counts.

“We could not have accomplished this improvement without support from our telestroke programs. In addition, we have leveraged telestroke to bring a higher level of care to communities that are lacking in-person neurology services,’ said Kevin Orndorff, vice president of neuroscience for HCA Healthcare.

Telehealth in maternal-fetal medicine

This year, more than 9,000 patients with high-risk pregnancies were able to stay in their obstetrician’s office to gain access to a maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) expert through virtual telehealth appointments. Because of the telehealth convenience, mothers avoided taking additional time off work, securing extended childcare or driving to multiple locations thanks to our telematernal-fetal medicine programs (teleMFM).

“Over the next three years, HCA Healthcare will continue to expand access to care for high-risk moms by adding teleMFM clinics while layering on access to adult and pediatric subspecialists through telehealth solutions. COVID-19 accelerated telehealth subspecialists adoption, making it easier to scale,” says Holly Elliott, vice president of women’s and children’s services for HCA Healthcare.

Related article: Maternal-fetal medicine program keeps moms close to home while improving access to care.

Telehealth in behavioral health

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

A special team of non-clinical patient care liaisons within our National Contact Center Management (NCCM) group utilizes Intelligent Routing 24/7 to assign a provider to the next patient in the queue. How does it work? NCCM coordinates with frontline care teams to confirm that the patient is ready, the telehealth device is set up and the provider and patient then correspond with each other for a meaningful consultation.

Telehealth brings our care to you

Nurse wearing a mask next to telehealth technology.
Tami Speed, a registered nurse and Alaska Regional Hospital stroke coordinator, consults with teleneurologist Dr. Adam Graham.

With 1,082 telehealth programs across our enterprise – we strive to find new ways to bring innovative models of care delivery to our patients and frontline caregivers. Our team is working on expanding service line capabilities across HCA Healthcare hospitals and outpatient sites of care. These programs will help support a wide range of patients, from the tiniest 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 practitioners have positive experiences with telehealth, we can build a sustainable model for the future of healthcare delivery.