Appl Clin Inform 2020; 11(05): 733-741
DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1719180
Case Report

Inpatient Telehealth Tools to Enhance Communication and Decrease Personal Protective Equipment Consumption during Disaster Situations: A Case Study during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Shawn Y. Ong
1  Department of Emergency Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
,
Lisa Stump
2  Information Technology Services, Yale New Haven Health System, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
,
Matthew Zawalich
2  Information Technology Services, Yale New Haven Health System, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
,
Lisa Edwards
2  Information Technology Services, Yale New Haven Health System, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
,
Glynn Stanton
2  Information Technology Services, Yale New Haven Health System, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
,
Michael Matthews
2  Information Technology Services, Yale New Haven Health System, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
,
Allen L. Hsiao
1  Department of Emergency Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
2  Information Technology Services, Yale New Haven Health System, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
› Author Affiliations
Funding None.

Abstract

Background As the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic exerts unprecedented stress on hospitals, health care systems have quickly deployed innovative technology solutions to decrease personal protective equipment (PPE) use and augment patient care capabilities. Telehealth technology use is established in the ambulatory setting, but not yet widely deployed at scale for inpatient care.

Objectives This article presents and describes our experience with evaluating and implementing inpatient telehealth technologies in a large health care system with the goals of reducing use of PPE while enhancing communication for health care workers and patients.

Methods We discovered use cases for inpatient telehealth revealed as a result of an immense patient surge requiring large volumes of PPE. In response, we assessed various consumer products to address the use cases for our health system.

Results We identified 13 use cases and eight device options. During device setup and implementation, challenges and solutions were identified in five areas: security/privacy, device availability and setup, device functionality, physical setup, and workflow and device usage. This enabled deployment of more than 1,800 devices for inpatient telehealth across seven hospitals with positive feedback from health care staff.

Conclusion Large-scale setup and distribution of consumer devices is feasible for inpatient telehealth use cases. Our experience highlights operational barriers and potential solutions for health systems looking to preserve PPE and enhance vital communication.

Protection of Human and Animal Subjects

Yale Institutional Review Board (IRB) determined this activity did not meet the regulatory definition of research and therefore IRB review was not required.




Publication History

Received: 21 July 2020

Accepted: 01 October 2020

Publication Date:
04 November 2020 (online)

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