19:24 PM

Telehealth Best Practices: Kate Purnell On How To Best Care For Your Patients When They Are Not Physically In Front Of You

Authority Magazine interviews Kate Purnell, vice president of service lines at HSS, about career highlights and the implementation of telehealth at HSS during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Purnell said that working with a large multidisciplinary team to rapidly implement telehealth and support HSS clinicians in the early months of the pandemic was one of the most interesting experiences of her career.

Purnell explained that before the pandemic, the HSS rehabilitation team launched a small but successful telehealth program that supported hip and knee replacement patients in their first three weeks after surgery, before transitioning to outpatient therapy. Later in the year, eight pilot physicians began to incorporate telehealth into their practices.

According to Purnell, “Due to this foundational infrastructure, HSS was able to get 85% of its medical staff live on telehealth within just three weeks, and ~400 physicians, PAs [physician assistants], and rehabilitation therapists live within five weeks, ensuring that our providers could continue to deliver urgent and ongoing musculoskeletal care to patients.”

She contributed the accelerated rollout of telemedicine to quick decision making, stating simple, ensuring support resources, and frequent communication.

When asked about the opportunities of telehealth, Purnell confirmed that convenience to the patient is a huge benefit that cannot be overstated. “If patient-centered care is defined as being respectful of, and responsive to, individual patient preferences and needs, telehealth can be an extremely powerful tool that can accommodate patients with mobility issues, patients who have limited ability to take time off work, and also working parents or caregivers of patients who have similar challenges,” she said.

When asked how she might inspire a movement in health care to help others, Purnell suggested, “To build on the power of telehealth, I hope that state medical boards relax licensure requirements so that patients have more choice in accessing care, and also that CMS includes physical therapists in the group of eligible providers for reimbursable telehealth services.”

Read the full article at Medium.com.