Managing COVID-19 via Telehealth: How Innovaccer's Self-assessment Tool Assists Patients in Determining Severity Risk

March 26, 2020
Matthew Gavidia
Matthew Gavidia

During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Innovaccer’s free to use COVID-19 Management System promotes the ability for patients to implement self-assessments to determine severity risk, which could prove crucial in at-risk, under resourced populations.

During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Innovaccer’s free to use COVID-19 Management System promotes the ability for patients to implement self-assessments to determine severity risk, which could prove crucial for at-risk, under resourced populations.

As the first state to report a case and death of COVID-19 in the United States, Washington has served as one of the worst-hit areas nationwide. To assist patients in this difficult time, Physicians of Southwest (PSW), a medical group based out of Olympia, Washington, have recently partnered with Innovaccer to employ their novel system to patients, which has also been deployed in the state of Goa, India.

In an interview with The American Journal of Managed Care®, Tamra Ruymann, MBA, chief of digital health at PSW, discussed the current state of physician practices amid the pandemic, as well as, providing input on how the COVID-19 Management System has assisted the organization’s independent physician network.

“The state healthcare system is struggling with and working to rectify its ability to provide testing with timely results, procure personal protective equipment for healthcare workers and patients, and implement new workflows supporting innovative patient care,” said Ruymann. “As an Innovaccer platform user, our population health care management department was provided two COVID-19 dashboards. These dashboards provide details on both confirmed and highly likely cases as well as high risk patient identification.”

In explaining Innovaccer’s COVID-19 Management System, Ruymann said that the assessment can be provided to a patient via text message or can be done verbally through the phone. While similar to the self-assessment provided by the CDC, Innovaccer’s system can also tie back to the provider and staff, so they can monitor the risk results. “Additionally, the application can provide the patients with informational links from the CDC that allow low risk patients to be informed on how the virus spreads, how to protect yourself and others, and the importance of monitoring symptoms for worsening,” said Ruymann.

Ruymann notes that by deriving each independent clinic’s patient risk information, PSW’s care management team is working to implement remote patient monitoring and services to promote preventive care. “With the high-risk patients our care team is performing outreach to those most vulnerable and offering assistance with items like medication, grocery, and pet food delivery. We are able to identify patients with multiple comorbidities and assist with everyday necessities in order to allow them the ability to remain at home therefore reducing their risk of exposure,” said Ruymann.

Ruymann highlighted that as a pre-built assessment tool, the system could be further expanded to address other patient needs. “This could allow limited access rural healthcare clinics the ability to monitor diabetic patients regularly through virtual visits and data as an example,” said Ruymann. “In addition, if a patient does not have access to technology, the clinic can offer services using computers onsite without the need of the clinicians to be in office. With this capability, there is the opportunity to reduce the cost of care throughout the nation for our rural populations and at the same time improve the populations outcomes.”

As patient demand for telehealth services continues to rise amid the COVID-19 pandemic, providing these opportunities can reduce the likelihood of exposure for at-risk populations seeking care and may flatten the curve of infection in the most hard hit areas nationwide.

“The ability to utilize telehealth to connect with our patients allows for engagement which provides assurances that cannot be done otherwise. The use of our care management team to assist with social determinants of health issues as described earlier (medication, grocery and pet food delivery) and the ability to deploy remote patient monitoring for those recovering in the home are all models that I would consider innovative with the ability to provide excellent outcomes,” said Ruymann.