Health and Wellness Informatics News

Telemedicine comes as the savior for Avera Health in the COVID-19 era

The chief medical information officer of the system of Avera Health, talked about the processes and the technologies which are empowering the response of the health system in the pandemic.

Avera Health is based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It has been at the forefront of the virtual care service since the middle of the 1990s. However, the arrival of the pandemic has put many challenges in front of this organization. But they have taken the challenge and revisited their telemedicine strategy to prevent the spread of the virus. At the same time, it continued to provide essential care services to the rural communities.

The Avera has undertaken a more multifaceted approach for the safe coronavirus diagnosis and treatment through the pandemic. It includes the virtual visits, COVID-19 hotline, and the hospital-at-home program. The eCARE model is helping to protect the clinicians and the staff in the department of emergency. Also, it is giving protection during high-risk procedures.

There are few keys in the approach of Avira for the diagnosis and the patient treatments. During the pandemic, Avera has maintained a high level of care for its community. At the same time, it took part in reducing the risk of the spread of disease among the patients and the hospital staff.

It undertook the multifaceted approach for the diagnosis and the treatment. It made use of the technology to serve the needs of the community. At the same time, it has minimized unnecessary in-person interactions.

Their strategy includes four processes. Firstly they facilitate a COVID clinic, which is a process for the coronavirus screening. Secondly, it comes with the hospital-at-home for the remote monitoring of mild illness. Thirdly there are virtual visits for the non-COVID patients so that they can continue with routine care. And the fourth is the Avera eCARE which allows care for the severe COVID patients in the emergency room with minimized risk for hospital staff.

It has embraced various forms of technology to implement these techniques for caregiving. As the patient presents to the emergency department, Avera first determines the symptoms they are experiencing. Then the patient waits until a nurse enters the room with proper protection and equipment. The nurse uses the Avera eCARE system to call a physician outside the room to know the patient’s history.

After knowing the history, the physician takes proper protection and enters the room to treat the patient, as per the severity of the condition. This has helped them to minimize the exposure of the hospital staff to the virus.