COVID-19 UPDATES: Read the Latest Coronavirus News and Information

Virtual Visits at Sierra View Medical Center help Curb Patients’ Chance of Spreading Covid-19

With mandated social distancing policies in place to counter the rapid spread of a highly infectious virus, Sierra View Medical Center (SVMC) is currently using telehealth solutions to give patients access to health care services through electronic and virtual means.

The first department to implement telehealth was the Roger S. Good Cancer Treatment Center, followed by the Urology and Wound Care departments at SVMC. Telehealth is made possible through a combination of platforms including FaceTime, Cisco WebEx, and Zoom.

“The Cancer Treatment Center has benefitted tremendously in reducing the chance of spreading the Covid-19 virus since both of their patients and physicians are considered high risk,” said Scott Cheney, Director of Information Technology. “The Urology and Wound Care departments that were of the first to utilize these services have also had much success in reducing the number of patients that need to visit their offices due to employing telehealth.”

The additional goal of saving Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been successful in areas including but not limited to the Emergency Department (ED). The ED has been using telehealth to connect clinical staff to patients in isolation in order to conserve PPE.

“Implementing telehealth has been a terrific asset in reducing the potential spread of the virus and in conserving PPE, and we are even doing Google Hangouts which have been helpful in connecting patients and physicians,” said Christen Rosa, Registered Nurse and Clinical Manager of Recovery, who has assisted Scott Cheney in spearheading the telehealth efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When a physician receives a consult on an in-house patient, they can choose to use telehealth. At that point, they call a number which would connect them to a designated telehealth SVMC nurse who would then set up an appointment to do a virtual consult; the nurse would connect the physician and the patient on the iPad with the platform chosen by the physician,” explains Christen.

Although telehealth services have been available in many states for decades, the recent public health emergency resulting from COVID-19 has accelerated the service. SVMC appreciates the benefits telehealth offers in an effort to reduce the potential exposure of the virus to patients and healthcare workers who are considered high risk and to also conserve PPE. Once regulations go back into place, SVMC will cease current telehealth offerings and work on implementing alternatives.