Legacies of COVID-19: Teamwork Across the Miles

By Suzanne Hughes, MSN, RN  |  May 8, 2020  |  COVID-19

Tele-health

Although we will not be placing COVID-19 in our rearview mirror in the foreseeable future, it is already apparent that there will almost certainly be legacies that are actually more positive than negative for the healthcare system at large.

Many of these “positives” will be in the area of new ways to leverage technology in clinical practice. Although there are reimbursement challenges that have not yet been completely solved, many practice settings have been able to substitute remote visits for face-to-face encounters, using telemedicine successfully. Last week there was a press release that points out that, in addition to telemedicine, Tele-Critical Care is also alive and well.

A few weeks ago, when hospitals in New York were reeling from the surge of COVID-19 patients, a Baltimore digital health company partnered with critical care physicians in Maryland and North Carolina to provide rapid teleconsultation to support NYC clinicians in 2 hospitals-one in Brooklyn and one in the Bronx, who were experiencing a shortage of critical care specialists.

The company, ICmed’s proprietary digital health platform that was designed for patients, care providers, and physicians to connect virtually. The platform also allows clinician-to-clinician consultation, so that physicians caring for COVID-19 patients, especially those on ventilators in the New York hospitals, can receive real-time consultation from critical care physicians based in Maryland and North Carolina hospitals. The team of specialty physicians, associated with Atrium Health in North Carolina and the Baltimore Chapter of the Society of Critical Care Medicine, volunteered to provide assistance at a time when travel to New York was not feasible.

With the COVID-19 pandemic peaking in different areas of the country at different times, Tele-Critical Care leverages available expertise from physicians who are in non-surge areas, allowing them to provide virtual assistance where it is critically needed. Such a great example of the use of technology, but also teamwork across the miles.

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