By Bethany Cox Snider, MD
In response to the emerging crisis with novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Hosparus Healthhas partnered with TapCloudto launch comprehensive telehealth services as a supplement to its direct, onsite care. TapCloud is an easy-to-use, web-based platform that allows patients and their Hosparus Health care teams to communicate in real time. Its comprehensive functionality includes secure, live video visits, messaging and monitoring. This robust technology is a value-added service to patients and families.
Hosparus Health is continuing to provide its vital hospice and palliative care to patients and families wherever they call home in 41 counties in Kentucky and Indiana. The not-for-profit organization’s clinicians are highly trained in infection control measures and follow best practices in the day-to-day delivery of care. To further ensure the safety of all patients, families and staff, Hosparus Health has implemented additional prevention and treatment protocols, including limiting in-person visits to when medically necessary.
Hosparus Health had previously planned to implement TapCloud later this spring as a mechanism for patients and families to check in between face-to-face visits, allowing them to report changes in symptoms or other updates on their conditions.
With the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ recent expansion of hospice regulations to accommodate telehealth visits, Hosparus Health accelerated the launch of its telehealth services to optimize care for its patients and families, and add a layer of prevention against the spread of COVID-19.
Available on a smart-phone, tablet or any PC or Mac, TapCloud not only allows care teams to see patients via live video visits, it helps patients communicate with our care team between appointments. In addition to supplemental video visits, the TapCloud app:
- Offers secure, HIPAA-compliant messaging so patients can communicate with their care team about symptoms, questions or concerns.
- Tracks patient symptoms and reminds them when to take their medications.
- Compiles patient information and tracks vitals so care teams can monitor their plans of care in real time and address any issues.
“Hosparus Health’s patients and families are some of our most at-risk populations, and we are committed to doing everything we can to protect and support them not only during this crisis, but for as long as they are in our care,” said president and CEO Phil Marshall. “TapCloud is an exceptional tool that allows us to connect our providers with patients while reducing high-risk in-person visits and alleviating much of the anxiety and confusion our patients and families are feeling right now.”
TapCloud is customized, based on each patient’s medical condition and medications. It helps patients and their caregivers stay connected, keeping minor issues from becoming major concerns and ensuring the very best care. The technology allows patients to feel empowered to check in as often as they want, never having to worry they are “bothering” their care teams.
In addition to launching telehealth services, Hosparus Health is taking the following precautions in response to COVID-19 until further notice:
- Suspending in-person events, grief support group meetings and counseling. Telehealth group meetings and counseling have been implemented.
- Requiring managers and support staff to work from home.
- Suspending routine volunteer activities that involve patient care.
- Restricting visits of chaplains and social workers to nursing home and assisted living patients.
- Canceling large meetings and staff travel.
- Screening clinical employees daily for symptoms and exposure to coronavirus.
- Monitoring supply chains and obtaining donations to ensure access to adequate medical equipment, including gloves, gowns, eye protection and respirator masks.
The organization continues to assess and improve ways to protect its patients, families and staff from COVID-19 and other health risks, while delivering the high-quality care the community has come to expect.
-Bethany Cox Snider, MD, is Chief Medical Officer at Hosparus Health in Louisville, Ky.