Care center’s COVID-19 technology response good for long term too
Hackley Community Care Center (Muskegon, MI) serves its community by providing care and education to families in greatest need of a pathway to wellness. In a matter of a few days, Hackley Community Care Center enabled virtual patient visits via Allscripts Professional EHRTM Mobile and FollowMyHealth® solutions.
The accomplishment meant our more than 50 caregivers in 14 locations—who regularly see 300–350 patients a day—could meet the COVID-19 pandemic head-on while still serving patients and delivering on our mission to support and promote patient health with quality, integrity, respect and compassion.
An Allscripts customer for 14 years, our staff were familiar with and well trained on most of the solutions they use.
But our telehealth solution hadn’t been used much prior to the pandemic. Once the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued new payment guidelines and encouraged telehealth, Hackley was ready.
The story of how we sustained and how we stayed on top of our game during this pandemic was due to the solutions that we used 24×7.
Virtual solutions, remote access
Hackley relied upon two solutions for the bulk of its COVID-19 response: Telehealth within the FollowMyHealth portal and Pro Mobile.
Our biggest one was FollowMyHealth.
The team reviewed many options for telehealth and even polled patients to ask their preferences.
We had been using FollowMyHealth for five years, so when the pandemic hit, we already had the first step rolling for our patients. It was a good experience for them because it wasn’t something new. In an uncomfortable time for patients unable to see providers in person, the fact that they already had the technology on their phones, laptops and tablets made a huge difference in continuity of care.
The Pro Mobile solution was another important technology enabler even before the pandemic. All six full-time physicians use it.
It’s invaluable for our providers to be able to take a call and speak to the patient—and while speaking to the patient, be able to pull up the patient chart, see interactions, allergies, and medication lists. It really prevented provider burnout.
Adopting telehealth changed Hackley’s scope of practice for the better. Caregivers took to the change immediately, in part because training during initial rollout had been so thorough.
Within just a matter of days we began conducting virtual visits within the FMH portal. The benefit was that some of our patients were already on this portal. This was their mechanism for obtaining their records, putting in prescription refill requests, requesting visits. You name it, they were able to see it and do it.
By March 30, Hackley was performing medical virtual visits and rolling out a COVID RN triage team. The Medical Assistants and RNs helped set up as many as 100 FollowMyHealth patient portal accounts a week. Both providers and patients loved the approach.
The best way to explain it to a provider is, “It’s two clicks.” It’s as simple as two clicks to start a virtual visit. We have not only seen a patient portal upturn, but higher satisfaction for our providers and staff to be able to see their patients virtually. This is the future for us.