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Jason Cunningham, MD, at work at West County Health Centers in Sonoma, Calif.. Credit: California Health Care Foundation[/caption]
In July of 2020, CCI launched the Connected Care Accelerator (CCA) to help 45 safety net clinics expand telehealth for their patients with support from the California Health Care Foundation, the Blue Shield of California Foundation and LA Cares.
Among the findings of two recently released reports on CCA from the RAND Corporation and the Center for Community Health and Evaluation:
- The share of audio-only and video visits dramatically increased during the pandemic, particularly for behavioral health.
- Patients with limited English proficiency participated in a significantly lower percentage of video visits, compared with the percentage of patients who typically receive primary health care services. To address disparities in access, clinics engaged in creative solutions to address the digital divide.
- Perceptions of whether telehealth provided an acceptable level of care were relatively positive, despite differing views on its sustainability and its impact on equity and quality.
- Key drivers of telehealth implementation were leadership support, patient willingness to use the technology, platforms that were easy to access and use, a sense of urgency within clinics, changes in reimbursement policy, and training opportunities for staff.
- For more information, read CHCF's story, as well as thefull RAND report on the CCA program and the CCHE report here.
California Health Care Foundation reporter Sylvina Martinez also took an inside look at two thriving CCA telehealth programs: those at West County Health Centers in Sonoma, California, and White Memorial Community Health Center in Los Angeles. The story began at the West County:
“Clinic staff at Gravenstein Community Health Center greet patients one by one at the front desk, then direct them to assigned care team rooms. Doctors, nurses, and medical assistants go in and out of the various rooms attending to patients while 20 more are in the waiting room. It’s just a typical day at this health center in Sebastopol, a small city in Sonoma County wine country — except these patients didn’t have to walk into the clinic to see the staff. Each patient is sitting in front of a computer screen wherever it is convenient for them.
This is a virtual care clinic — a care model implemented by California health care organizations using real-time video technology to provide accessible, quality care.
“People go in and out of the rooms freely, without asking. That’s the magic of it,” said the doctor behind this clinic’s care model, Jason Cunningham, DO, the CEO of West County Health Centers
Read the full story here