b'26CONCORD HOSPITAL TRUSTConnecting Patients and Providers through TelemedicineWhen the COVID-19 pandemic reachedBeing able to see the patient is really anwith changes in insurance coverage for phone the Concord area, Concord Hospital workedadvantage, Dr. Clark said. You can pickor video appointments. quickly to clear the way to care for a potentialup body language and see how a personAt the same time, Dr. Clark and his clinical influx of critically ill patients. appears. That recognition is reassuring oninformatics team were heavily involved in Key to the planning was dramatically andall sides. establishing an alternate care site at NHTI rapidly increasing the use of telemedicine In addition to follow-up or routinedesigned to care for recovering COVID-19 connecting with patients by phone or videoappointments, new telemedicine links werepatients if there was no room at the Hospital. conference to reduce the number of patientsestablished, for instance, for psychiatristsThe alternate care site was not used, but visiting the Hospital Emergency Departmentand urologists to evaluate patients in theDr. Clark said telemedicine is here to stay, and Concord Hospital Medical Group practices. Emergency Department.especially in the near future if COVID cases Weve been talking about a telemedicineWhile trying to keep people out ofincrease as society re-opens.strategy for three or four years, said Dr.Emergency Department, we actually didThere are questions about whether insurance Paul Clark, Concord Hospitals Chief Medicaltelemedicine outside in the parking lot soproviders, including Medicare, will continue Information Officer. Then, we went frompatients could be evaluated without actuallycovering telemedicine after the pandemic, conceptual plan to rolling it out in threecoming inside, Dr. Clark said. but Dr. Clark said there are many advantages. weeks. Otherwise, we would have lost contactTelemedicine is more suited, but not limitedHigh-risk patients can stay out of the Hospital with our patients. to certain types of appointments such asas the pandemic continues; other patients Initially, some patients and providers werediabetes or blood pressure follow-ups incan avoid long drives or time away from work uncomfortable with meeting by phonewhich the patient can provide neededfor short, routine visits; appointments might or video, but soon after the COVID-19information. Dr. Clark even had a video visitbe available on nights or weekends; and transformation began at the Hospital infor a patient with a tick bite.conferences can include patient relatives who March, both grew more confident. As of JulyQuickly implementing telemedicine wasmight live far away. 31, there had been more than 49,000 phonea complex and challenging project whichI think there are a lot of positives for or video appointments, with the number ofinvolved organizing and conductingtelemedicine that will come out of this, video appointments steadily increasing. education and training for providers, securinghe said.contracts with video services and dealing'