Telemedicine helps rural population get access to specialists

Health and Wellness Informatics News

Covenant Health, from Tennessee, encountered problems due to telemedicine. There were no specialists for the rural regions. The system used virtual care to solve this problem.

Covenant Health is a health system based out of Knoxville, Tennessee. The health system encountered a major problem because of telemedicine. It was a lack of physician specialists in the rural communities. This made the rural population miss out on important health benefits.

Covenant Health saw the potential of telemedicine and telehealth early on. They became the pioneers of this method ten years before the pandemic. Also, they were exceptional in the region because of their virtual care practices. They also started a telehealth stroke program in 2012. It became the region’s first stroke center.

Healthcare also saw the rise of consumerism in the industry. With that, the covid-19 pandemic also led to some drastic changes globally. This forced Covenant Health to adopt virtual care measures such as telemedicine. They made sure that all departments had virtual care. They wanted to make patients feel safe in the comfort of their homes.

Telehealth and telemedicine became fundamental for critical care services also. This was in the case of hospitalizations. They implemented the Tele-ICU scheme across the region. This became very helpful as delta and omicron variants plundered the health systems.

Covenant was not alone in the virtual care journey. Many vendors and firms also offered telemedicine-like services. But they were not in line with day-to-day clinician workflows. For Covenant, virtual care is in line with the EHR workflow spectacularly.

Virtual care with the effect of telemedicine has been instrumental in patient outcomes. Individual and group therapy visits for mental health have shown great progress. No one left the therapy, and the patients showed great progress. The focus has been on behavioral health as well. The patients transitioned well in any case with the help of virtual care.

The health system continues to deliver primary care using remote technologies and services. All this became possible because of funding. The FCC telehealth grant program gave $987,991 to Covenant Health. The funding went into expanding telemedicine services.

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