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99% of patients said they would use telehealth services again.  You can’t get much better than that.  St. Joseph Health System successfully launched a telehealth pilot earlier this year using Cisco HealthPresence™ that allows patients, physicians and other health and wellness specialists in disparate locations to meet and consult virtually via immersive video and audio technologies. The telehealth pilot is part of St. Joseph Health’s Healthiest Communities initiative, which focuses on improving access to health care services and quality of care to the communities it serves.  The results are impressive.

The pilot has now been live for four months supporting Urgent Care, Specialty Care, Chronic Disease Management, and Wellness and Health Improvement.  Care has been provided to about 250 patients.  In addition 99% of patients said they would use telehealth services again.  95% of patients seen were “completely satisfied” with their telehealth experience.  The telehealth program is providing access to healthcare in areas where it previously was not accessible.

 “What’s exciting about telehealth is that it combines the best of both worlds. While it gives you the best as far as technology and science, it still maintains the dignity and compassion that is a requirement of the patient physician interaction.” Dr. Guisou Mahmoud

One noteworthy area of success is in psychiatry.  Psychiatry appointment and evaluations can take months to secure in the traditional setting.  Telehealth has allowed community health centers to provide appointments in a matter of days or weeks.  For patients in crisis, time can be critical, and this allows them to get the help they need faster.

“The telehealth program is the ideal way for physicians to be able to care for more patients in need of their services.  Not only is this model enabling us to better serve our community – which is part of our overall mission at St. Joseph Health – it is also a huge step for us into the future of health care technology.”

Elliot Sternberg, MD, Executive Vice President, Wellness & Health Improvement 

This is what I call a win-win situation.   Patients are able to avoid unnecessary and inconvenient travel.  It can save them hours and even weeks, to see a specialist.  The clinicians  travel is reduced saving both time and money.  They are also able to enjoy a more flexible schedule.  At a time when we are seeing a declining number of clinicians, any small improvement to their worklife is a good thing.   Congratulations to St. Joseph’s -well done.

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