The coronavirus pandemic has stretched the nation’s clinical resources and, as a result, has forced providers, policymakers and even patients to rethink how care should be delivered.

As a leading national medical group caring for communities across the United States, our team has been at the center of this reimagining by creating new care models and deploying clinicians to COVID-19 hotspots.

There are a finite number of clinicians in the United States, however with COVID-19 outbreaks surging in every region, it is clear our healthcare system needs to embrace other tools. This is evident in lower census areas that are battling clinician shortages and having trouble keeping emergency department doors open.

Virtual health has proven to be an incredibly effective solution by connecting clinicians and patients in real time and in every area of the country. It allows hospitals to continue serving their communities effectively through the quadruple aim: providing better outcomes, improving both patient and clinician experience and lowering the cost of healthcare.

Envision has offered virtual health services for more than a decade, but since March 2020, we have provided nearly 250,000 virtual visits, including thousands in emergency settings. These connections have allowed clinicians to exchange best practices. They have driven creativity while providing reassurance to patients struggling with challenging and complex conditions. Tools like our Emergency Medicine Advanced Practice Provider (EM APP) model, for example, can be especially impactful during rapidly changing situations such as the current pandemic. During COVID-19 we have seen knowledge expand quickly and exponentially, and the ability to share experiences in real time can improve outcomes and save lives.

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Advanced Practice Providers Are Your Lifeline

Advanced practice providers (APPs) focused on emergency medicine are highly trained and can take care of the majority of common conditions. But the ability to collaborate with a board-certified clinician via two-way video – as EM APP allows – opens the door to an even deeper reservoir of experience that has been an important lifeline for complex patients during COVID-19.

Early in the pandemic, for example, we deployed virtual health to help hospitals assess which patients needed to be admitted and which could safely stay home. (For patients who were not admitted, we leveraged our transitional virtual care programs to help hospitals monitor patients in the comfort of their own homes).

As knowledge of COVID-19 treatment and provider experiences grew over time, clinicians shared this evolving knowledge through virtual health tools such as EM APP. This continued exchange is one reason we are much better at treating COVID-19 now than we were last March and April.

A Dedicated Team Helps Improve Care

Bringing virtual health solutions such as EM Advanced Practice Providers into emergency departments is seamless. In addition to facilitating training for advanced practice providers, we offer a dedicated operations team that collaborates with hospital leadership to develop a customized client service plan that covers:

  • Hospital metrics and statistics
  • Practice management services
  • Practice deliverables
  • Specific initiatives/performance expectations
  • Clinical practice support
  • Key contacts for the hospital and Envision

Because we have more than 650 emergency medicine contracts across 40 states and more than 40 years of experience, we’re also able to offer our partners broad expertise in billing, compliance, clinical quality data capture, analysis, feedback and care improvement.

Like all of our virtual health service offerings, our EM APP model is designed to impact the healthcare Quadruple Aim.

Quadruple Aim Success with Virtual Health

Envision Integrated Virtual Health Services

By reducing unnecessary transfers and keeping patients closer to home, we help elevate the patient experience and offer peace of mind. Hospital teams also gain greater experience by keeping patients who require complex care plans local rather than transferring them. Highly trained hospital advanced practice providers and Envision’s board-certified physicians come together to provide the highest level of care for patients, no matter where they are.

By providing access to a national network of highly trained subspecialists, EM APP increases overall care quality and helps hospitals serve their communities.

By utilizing demand capacity modeling and an APP-centric care team, we help reduce costs and improve efficiency of care. In partnering with Envision Physician Services, hospitals can realize savings of up to 66 percent by utilizing the services of APPs and our virtual health teams.

Finally, by empowering our APPs to work at the top of their licenses – and giving them access to on-the-job knowledge sharing – EM APP improves the work life of the individuals who are serving their communities on the frontlines.

The Promise of Virtual Emergency Care

Medicine is a dynamic enterprise. As COVID-19 has demonstrated, diseases evolve – often rapidly. The healthcare sector must evolve as well, and virtual health offers the chance to do so while achieving our quadruple aim in the process.

Americans are eager to embrace this opportunity. Prior to COVID-19, only 15 percent of U.S. physicians regularly used virtual health, but by April 2020, more than three-quarters of physician practices were offering these services. A May 2020 McKinsey & Company report found three-quarters of Americans are interested in virtual health.

As the U.S. healthcare system continues to struggle under the pressures of COVID-19, healthcare organizations can continue to unlock the promise of virtual health, which will support recovery, innovation and growth across the healthcare delivery system.

Envision Virtual Health Services can help you deliver better outcomes and patient experience by keeping care within your community. Want to learn more?