Jonathan Witenko, system director of virtual health and telemedicine at Lee Health, recently sat down with Healthcare IT News editor Bill Siwicki to offer a glimpse into his health system’s use of telehealth in the COVID-19 response. In the article Cloud-based telehealth, linked with Epic EHR, helps one hospital scale up virtual care, Witenko shares how Lee Health worked with Caregility to “ramp up to tens of thousands of telemedicine visits per month as it dealt with the constraints of the coronavirus pandemic.”

 

The southwest Florida-based non-profit health system encompasses five hospitals, 12,000 employees and over 1,400 physicians managing over one million patient contacts per year. As COVID cases climbed, Lee sought to quickly expand its telehealth infrastructure to support virtual health screenings for employees, virtual visits for patients sheltering in place at home, and virtual engagement mechanisms for inpatients amid visitation restrictions.

 

Within roughly one week, Lee integrated the Caregility UHE telehealth technology platform with the health system’s Epic EHR and began rolling out new telehealth programs. Virtual visits quickly soared to 1,200 sessions per day.

 

Read the full interview here, where Witenko details Lee Health’s experience and offers recommendations to healthcare peers seeking to similarly expand their telehealth footprint. “Look for technology that is versatile not only for current state, but can be incorporated into multiple permutations,” Witenko advises. “Otherwise you’ll have dozens of disparate programs.”

 

In June, Witenko joined Caregility vice president of clinical solutions, Wendy Deibert, and senior vice president of global sales, Scott Andrus, on a webinar delving further into Lee Health’s efforts to keep patients connected and healthcare workers safe using telehealth during the pandemic. Watch the on-demand webinar Innovation and Collaboration in Virtual Care for guidance on how to:

 

  • fast-track telehealth deployment
  • establish a command center to approach telehealth build-out from a system level
  • make sure virtual care delivery is secure and compliant

 

“We needed a scalable system that could traverse all patient needs in the home and the hospital, be rapidly deployed, and one that was infinitely scalable for the new normal of the future,” said Witenko. “Caregility was able to disperse across all patient locations and has the bandwidth to support our growing needs. We now have a collaborative partner that will work with us to further expand our virtual care offerings. I feel optimistic about the future.”

 

View a case study on Lee Health’s telehealth initiatives during COVID-19 here.