The (Virtual) Doctor Is In: How Butler Health System Kept Caring for Patients During a Pandemic

The (Virtual) Doctor Is In: How Butler Health System Kept Caring for Patients During a Pandemic

When Butler Health System (BHS) closed its flagship hospital and more than 70 outpatient facilities throughout western Pennsylvania due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization had to act quickly to make sure patients were well taken care of.

Within a matter of days, BHS’ IT team provisioned 200 new licenses and deployed Zoom’s secure, HIPAA/PIPEDA-enabled healthcare plan to a network of physicians, providers, and staff across more than 30 provider offices.

Cynthia Esser, director of emerging technology at BHS, helped lead the telehealth expansion. “We saw our first patient in three days in their home over Zoom,” she said.

Since then, patients have signed on for their healthcare appointments from their living rooms, cars, and offices. “One of our cardiologists had a patient call him from the seat of an excavator! He thought it was great that he didn’t have to take time off work,” Esser added.

Esser and her team created customized telehealth workflows for two specific needs: scheduled appointments and unscheduled urgent care visits. Here’s how BHS leveraged Zoom’s features so patients could see their doctor without leaving home.

Scheduled doctor’s appointments

Using the Scheduling Privilege feature, physicians can delegate scheduling of routine patient appointments to their office staff. When a staff member schedules an appointment with a patient, the Outlook integration automatically adds the appointment to the provider’s calendar, along with a meeting link. The physician has full host capabilities to start and control the meeting with their patient without the scheduler present.  

Unscheduled urgent care visits

Urgent care appointments, called Faster Care NOW at BHS, are for patients experiencing symptoms that don’t quite rise to the level of an emergency room visit but can’t wait for a scheduled appointment with their doctor. BHS created a workflow that utilized Personal Meeting IDs (PMIs) and the Waiting Room feature to support a “walk-in” experience where patients could be seen without an appointment. Providers run a single ongoing meeting using their PMI and admit patients one by one from the waiting room into their virtual “doctor’s office.”

Benefits of an enhanced telehealth program

Expanding its telehealth program allowed BHS to reached patients in their homes and provide care in the most convenient setting possible during the pandemic. By using Zoom for telehealth, BHS was able to:

  • Improve access to high-quality care for patients
  • Enable providers to continue treating patients despite facility closures
  • Increase telehealth appointments from a handful of visits to thousands of visits a week
  • Reduce the number of appointment cancellations and no-shows

To learn more about how Butler Health System used Zoom to serve its patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, read the full case study. For more information on Zoom’s HIPAA/PIPEDA-enabled healthcare plan for telehealth, schedule a live demo today.

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