Behind Northwell Health's telehealth program: 5 insights on scaling virtual care

New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based Northwell Health has developed a comprehensive telehealth center that offers virtual care services across its 23 hospitals, from stroke care to trauma consultations and pediatric emergency care.

During a Feb. 3 webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by Philips, Northwell Health executives discussed how the health system has built and scaled its telehealth programs and how they have helped support care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The panelists were:

  • Iris Berman, RN, MSN, vice president of telehealth services at Northwell Health
  • Patrick McCarthy, assistant vice president of telehealth services at Northwell Health

Five key insights:

1. Northwell Health launched its telehealth center team and services in December 2014 with only two hospital sites and a virtual intensive care unit. The health system has since expanded by adding telestroke, eSkilled Nursing Facility, eHospitalist, pediatric critical care consultation, neuro critical care consultation, trauma consultation, telepsychiatry and pediatric emergency department.

2. When crafting its strategy, Northwell had to think about telehealth as being on a continuum, Ms. Berman said. "We happened to have started in the acute care realm, and we have now since moved well into the direct to consumer or ambulatory and prevention and wellness."

3. Northwell is working to meet the final stage of its telehealth maturity plan by developing a consumer-focused program. Currently, the health system's market and care delivery-focused services are integrated within the care delivery model and can be self sustaining as a business.

4. In January 2017, Northwell partnered with cloud-based telehealth platform Avizia, which is now part of Amwell. The health system's partnerships with Avizia and then Amwell are to support its direct-to-consumer platform and ability to connect a provider to a patient from a single platform, no matter where the location, according to Mr. McCarthy.

5. Northwell teamed up with Amwell and Philips to develop two telehealth platforms: Connect and Northwell Health Integration. The latter lets clinicians schedule visits with their Amwell calendars and streamline the patient visit process, while Connect lets Northwell send a quick message either by SMS, email, to a SIP address or device end point to initiate virtual care.

"Connect was incredibly useful as we had to scale fast in the initial month of the COVID-19 crisis last year while at same time building a full on integrated product," Mr. McCarthy said.

Click here to view the full presentation.


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