Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare organizations have experienced challenges in the delivery of patient care. Based on COVID-19’s transmission, high incidence of mortality and severe respiratory illness, along with a decrease in hospital resources such as mechanical ventilators, an alternative approach to caring for patients who could benefit from sustaining in their homes and also reducing emergency department (ED) visits became apparent.1
At Michael Garron Hospital (MGH), the COVID-19 Care Pathway was developed in response to the pandemic to provide timely clinical evaluation and management for high-risk COVID-19 positive patients at home. This is done through Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM), an approach for patients to provide health updates to a hospital clinic using an electronic device such as a smart phone. Using Vivify, an RPM application designed to help chronically-ill and high risk patients remain out of the hospital, patients are prompted to update their health status twice a day and are followed-up with a live phone call from clinical staff if there are any new or worsening symptoms. In its first year, the COVID-19 Care Pathway served nearly 700 patients.
In addition to RPM, several ambulatory clinics across the hospital were required to abruptly transition to telemedicine due to the pandemic, with patients continuing to receive necessary care due to provincial social distancing limitations. This has been achieved by improving existing virtual care processes, customizing processes to meet clinic needs, coordinating human resources and training and ensuring availability of Information Technology (IT) infrastructure to support processes.