Telehealth was being used by the Department of Public Health on a regular basis pre-pandemic, logging 3,573 meeting minutes during the first two months of 2020. And then COVID-19 struck, and everything changed, explained Suleima Salgado, MBA/ Director of Telehealth, Telemedicine, Rural Health Initiatives, and Project ECHO, Department of Public Health (DPH).
Speaking at the March GaHIN/DCH webinar, Salgado detailed the sweeping transformation that allowed the Department to provide telehealth access for a wide range of specialty services to rural and underserved areas.
"Almost overnight, we went from our normal in clinic and telemedicine consultations to remote patient care," she said. "In the past, we had home visits for important programs like Babies Can't Wait, but we moved those to televisits. Our therapists have benefitted from seeing patients in their natural environments and having parents involved with things like their children's speech therapy."
- Expanded existing telehealth platform to allow for external clients/staff to join virtually from non-DPH locations (Cisco Meeting App and WebEx)
- Converted 85% of contracted clinicians from in person to telemedicine providers
- Trained over 2,000 clinicians on new telehealth platforms and resources
- Purchased and equipped approximately 50 mobile telemedicine solutions to be deployed, as needed, into districts for COVID response efforts
- Responded to over 2,500 inquiries from clinicians on Georgia Telemedicine rules/regulations
Register on the DCH website
to view a recording of the 30-minute webinar.
Following is a comparison showing the dramatic use in telehealth utilization by the Department.