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Training providers remotely helps Genesis Health System safely expand telehealth visits

by Cerner Corporation

Published on 6/2/2020

When COVID-19 hit Genesis Health System, IT staff members found creative ways to remotely train nearly 200 providers on telehealth technology in just two weeks.1

The Davenport, Iowa-based organization began as a testing partner for a telehealth solution, Amwell, more than a year ago, but the pandemic accelerated the need for virtual care.

“We wanted to help provide a safe way for providers to take care of their patients,” said Karyn Mairet, senior clinical informaticist, Cerner ITWorksâ„ .

Through managed IT services from ITWorks, the hospital started online training with a pilot group of family medicine residents, which helped “get the kinks worked out,” Mairet said. Next came on-demand training for urgent care providers. The ITWorks team trained up to four providers a day in 30-minute sessions.

“We could shadow, train and talk to providers,” Mairet said. “We could see everything on their screen, but we didn’t have to lean over their shoulder. It will be a great way to train moving forward.”

Initially, the team worked through a telehealth solution for on-demand visits that was integrated with the health system’s electronic health record (PowerChart®) before adding scheduled visit workflows where the provider logged into the web-based Amwell app. Word of the online training spread quickly.

“Providers from all over Genesis asked us, ‘When can I get in on this?’ Mairet said. “We saw a lot of enthusiasm from them, and Amwell was truly helpful by being available and working through issues as they came up. We have a lot of providers who are enjoying the process.”

As Genesis prepares clinicians to return to the workforce, Polly Parrent, CHCIO, ITWorks client leader, said it’s been valuable to have the informaticists and trainers feel like they’re right beside providers, even if they couldn’t be present physically.

“We aren’t going to flip the switch tomorrow and have the world back to the way we knew before COVID-19,” Parrent said. “These social distancing guidelines will likely be around for the foreseeable future, so this is our new way of thinking about training and support as we try to maintain six feet of separation.”

ITWorks manager and lead clinical informaticist Dee Allison said the remote setup helped her team train clinicians more efficiently. 

“We made sure we were able to seamlessly go from one training to another in separate buildings in a matter of seconds,” she said. “It was not unusual for us to train three providers at three different facilities before 10 a.m.” 

The IT team also moved all new employee training online through virtual shadowing, and they are bringing clinics live through the same training approach. The organization has onboarded at least a dozen providers remotely, as well as 20-30 office staff.

With health systems focused on how to get back to being fully operational, questions surface about how to deliver training and content quickly, efficiently and in a personalized manner.

“From a high level, you think, ‘How could it be more personal?’” Parrent said. “But providers are finding it's very individualized, and it's all about them. They have our undivided attention.”

1 Starting March 18, 2020