Georgia Department of Public Health: Keeping Doctors and Patients Connected

Follow along with our new blog series #HealthcareNow and #PublicSectorNow, where we’ll addresses healthcare innovation around the world and how to maintain business continuity in today’s health climate. 

Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) needed a way to continue critical healthcare services without in-person visits when the pandemic hit. 

Like most healthcare organizations, they needed to pivot when stay at home orders and social distancing limited patients from coming into clinics and hospitals for preventative and chronic care. 

DPH had to rapidly select a web-based technology provider that would integrate seamlessly with their existing video conferencing solutions and Cisco solutions across infrastructure, scheduling, DX units and room kits. And, they needed security built into the platform to meet strict HIPAA requirements for patient privacyWebex was the answer.  

In just three months, DPH onboarded 1,200 telehealth providers to the Webex platform. Now, they have one of the most robust telehealth programs in the nation with over 1,000 connected endpoints, allowing patients to stay safe at home while maintaining access to needed medical care. 

One of the critical areas that is benefiting by the use of Webex is the Babies Can’t Wait (BCW) program. BCW is an early intervention program that offers a variety of coordinated services for infants and toddlers with special needs and their families. The BCW program is using Webex to: 

  • Conduct trainings and staff meetings
  • Administer eligibility evaluations
  • Provide ongoing occupational therapy, speech therapy, and physical therapy services
  • Provide special instruction services
  • Hold weekly state meetings and teletherapy provider support meetings

DPH is also able to offer patients over 50 additional telemedicine services, including dental, diabetes, infectious diseases, and pediatric care.  

“… We leveraged Webex to get those providers onboarded and trained to see patients during COVID. The feedback has been amazing. Our patients are very pleased with the platform.” –Suleima Salgado, Director of Telehealth, Georgia Department of Public Health 

Before the pandemic, patients and providers were hesitant to adopt telehealth, but now, patients are driving the conversation. They are pleased with the care they now receive from home, and DPH believes the demand for telehealth will continue even after in-person appointments resume in full capacity.   

“Telehealth is not going anywhere…It’s going to be a standard model of care now moving forward post COVID.” – Suleima Salgado, Director of Telehealth, Georgia Department of Public Health 

We’d love to hear what you think. Comment below and stay tuned for the next blog in our #HealthcareNow series. 

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