How U of Iowa Health Care is taking lessons from H1N1 to deploy telehealth


Iowa City-based University of Iowa Health Care is using the lessons learned from treating the H1N1 virus in 2009 to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a post from the American Medical Association.

"During H1N1 in 2009, we saw everyone who was worried they had it coming in in droves to be tested," Katherine Imborek, MD, associate professor of family medicine, told the association. "We want to prevent that this time so that healthy people are not exposed or infected people are not spreading it. Telemedicine lets us provide people reassurance from their homes and direct them to come in if they need to."

Currently, UIHC providers conduct between 200 to 500 respiratory illness video visits daily. Since March 10, physicians have completed more than 6,000 virtual visits, with only 1,000 patients being seen at in-person clinics.

"We are hopeful it will help the healthcare system so that we have fewer people in the hospital when a surge comes and that we can care for some of the patients through outpatient care," Bradley Manning, MD, clinical assistant internal medicine professor, told the AMA. "We are flattening the hospitalization curve, or at least blunting it."

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