In response to changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, WellSpan Health doctors and advanced practice providers are offering alternative care options that don’t require patients to visit a care site in person. WellSpan is harnessing the power of technology to bring care directly to our patients through digital platforms and telemedicine.
Digital visits can be used for primary and urgent care appointments, as well as for specialty care, including behavioral health and physical therapy appointments.
Video visits surge
More than 300 WellSpan practices now provide care through video visits. In 2019, we completed 1,900 video visits over the course of the year. In April 2020, we averaged 1,900 video visits each day.
Video visits aren’t only being utilized by our younger patients—20 percent are scheduled by patients older than 60. In fact, the age of patients for whom video visits are being used ranges from newborns to the elderly.
Recently, WellSpan has begun using video visits for inpatient care, allowing doctors to see patients in the hospital without needing to travel or use PPE as they move between patient rooms.
In addition to video visits, some appointments can be conducted by telephone. Lately, WellSpan has averaged 9,000 such calls per week.
WellSpan was one of the first health systems in the country to give patients access to an interactive tool that allows those who have been tested for COVID-19 to track their symptoms. MyWellSpan Care Companion (launched on April 1) has given personalized care to hundreds of patients who are actively tracking their symptoms using this feature on our app.
When to use e-visits
For less complex conditions, patients can take advantage of e-visits with WellSpan providers. For this type of digital appointment, a patient answers questions about symptoms via email and can attach a photo if needed. Patients can expect a response within one business day.
WellSpan continues to expand its other digital offerings, including Online Urgent Care and Madeline, an online pharmacy and prescription service for women to receive birth control.
Having already launched many digital care options prior to the pandemic, WellSpan had the framework to expand those innovations quickly and scale them up to handle the rapidly growing need for tools that would allow patients to be cared for in the comfort and safety of their homes.