Stanford Children's Health now completing 500 virtual visits daily

Stanford (Calif.) Children's Health providers are now performing up to 500 telehealth visits per day to support both COVID-19 evaluations as well non-coronavirus related healthcare, according to a March 30 hospital blog post.

The hospital has ramped up its telehealth initiatives over the past few weeks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. By seeing more patients virtually, there is less risk for the spread of the virus, said Natalie Pageler, MD, according to the blog post.

Dr. Pageler, who serves as chief medical information officer at Stanford Children's Health, said the hospital developed a new telehealth use case in the inpatient setting. Virtual visits are now being used to care for patients who are isolated in the hospital to preserve personal protective equipment such as masks and gowns.

In addition to performing COVID-19 evaluations for patients in the comfort of their own homes, telehealth also allows Stanford Children's Heath outpatient clinic providers to offer services including pain treatment, urology and reproductive endocrinology to support appointments that do not require physical exams each time.

"Unless their condition warrants intensive hospital care, these virtual visits allow us to see patients who require ongoing care for follow-up appointments, decrease emergency room crowding, and save travel time for patients who need care," Dr. Pageler said.

The coronavirus pandemic has propelled telehealth usage, and moving forward once "life returns to 'normal,'" Dr. Pageler said Stanford Health will keep evaluating how to best incorporate technology with healthcare delivery.

"We will continue to develop our technology and our processes to best support patients and families wherever they may be," she said. "This is particularly important for children in order to best support their health while minimizing the disruption to their schooling and extracurricular activities."

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