Providing Fast Virtual Care for Senior Patients

Dr. Payam Parvinchiha, Regional Medical Director of CareMore Health, chats with us on this week’s episode of The Connected Care Team to discuss how enabling TigerConnect for their virtual care program provided CareMore with an innovative approach to clinical communication

CareMore Health, a Southern California healthcare organization for 25 years, focuses on the most vulnerable seniors in every community they serve. Located across 9 states, CareMore serves over 160,000 patients and employs over 250 clinical staff.

With the primary goal of transforming the care model, CareMore consists of doctors, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals who work within the Medicare Advantage space. The CareMore team cares for seniors living at home, in nursing homes, and throughout the larger community.

CareMore Health serves patients through a very high-touch model, treating highly ill patients, whether within their care centers or in mobile programs. Dr. Parvinchiha and the entire CareMore team take pride in serving patients more consistently than many other healthcare providers. That was, until the COVID-19 lockdown began, leading to all of their clinical operations closing overnight.

As CareMore’s Regional Medical Director, Dr. Payam Parvinchiha recognized that they required a virtual care solution immediately once the pandemic hit, especially given the urgent needs of their patients. In addition, they needed to ensure all staff would be able to stay remotely connected easily.

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The Connected Care Team Podcast

To learn more about implementing a virtual care strategy for your organization, check out Dr. Parvinchiha’s episode on The Connected Care Team podcast.

Essential Care and Communication

Originally implemented as a care collaboration tool, CareMore initially used TigerConnect for secure text messaging, scheduling, and on-call services. The ability to communicate with patients, providers, and care teams demonstrated positive adoption and success for CareMore from the beginning.

Over the course of a few years, CareMore had been slowly strategizing a full virtual care program that included TigerConnect for a variety of applications. Without a sense of urgency, however, the program was still in the early stages when the pandemic hit.

Easy and Effective

It was during this time that their existing experience with TigerConnect helped them act quickly and effectively to roll out their virtual services immediately. Through their implementation, CareMore enabled technology for new models of care delivery. TigerConnect proved to be effective for serving patients at home, in the hospital, and within nursing homes, with patients receiving care from a variety of touchpoints, facilities, and providers.

Impactful TigerConnect Features for CareMore

  • Group messaging: The CareMore team defined various clinical groups that were then able to coordinate and collaborate extensively and seamlessly
  • Message read status: Confirmation that messages were read built more advocacy over previously used email services throttled with inefficiencies and lag
  • Advancing value with TigerConnect Clinical Collaboration Platform – Pro: Role-based messaging, automated role assignment, scheduling integration, click-to-call – video/VoIP

Working with assisted living teams and nursing home staff, not all members of these care teams were innately tech-savvy or familiar with virtual care. Fortunately, TigerConnect’s simple and easy-to-adapt interface allowed them to easily download the platform and set up accounts to quickly provide urgent care.

Better Security

When CareMore transitioned to their virtual care program, TigerConnect helped them seamlessly share accounts with their partners outside the organization. A big part of this success is owed to the secure, HIPAA-compliant aspect of TigerConnect.

Originally unable to communicate with external facility partners, or use video consults using less secure applications, using TigerConnect helped CareMore build trust with their partners through confidential, secure virtual visits.

Collaborating in Real-Time

According to Dr. Parvinchiha, “As a high-risk, vulnerable patient care model, oftentimes we have our nurse practitioner as the point of care who might initiate a virtual call, but that patient might have issues related to podiatry needs or cardiac needs; a lot of times we might need to get a pharmacist involved.”

Within TigerConnect, CareMore is able to add providers in real-time to facilitate care. They also found the unique aspect of being able to include family members in encounters especially helpful, further eliminating the risk of COVID-19 exposure by visiting multiple facilities.

As everyone works on scaling and building new virtual care models, especially during COVID-19, having a collaborative technology model that enhances and unites interactions is where the future of telemedicine is heading.

“Virtual care is pretty simple once you get the technology,” says Dr. Parvinchiha. “It’s a FaceTime interaction between provider and patient, so that was initially the most valuable, but what turned out to be extremely useful within TigerConnect was getting multiple providers on the same encounter.”

Faster Remote Assessment

It was important for CareMore to provide remote treatment that allowed patients to receive care without taking in-person visit risks, especially during COVID-19.

Speed of assessment is the most critical aspect of care delivery. The faster clinicians can connect to patients, the faster they can determine the correct route of care.

From the time the care teams get a call about new symptoms, they can provide an immediate assessment via video to determine urgency and next steps sooner through TigerConnect.

Key Results

Using TigerConnect Clinical Collaboration Platform – Pro through CareMore’s TigerConnect implementation aligned with their key metrics and helped the entire organization realize more value than they anticipated.

  • Cost reduction: Reduction in avoidable healthcare costs due to reduced length of stay and early intervention
  • Preventative measures: Prevention of hospital complications like sundowning, infections, falls, and more
  • Better workflows: Higher care team collaboration and efficiency
  • Safer environment: Reduced risk of COVID-19 transmission for patients and staff

“The results speak for themselves,” says Dr. Parvinchiha. “I’m extremely confident that the care coordination we established using TigerConnect was a huge part of our ability to reduce the length of stay in the hospital, specifically during COVID as we look at outcomes, medical groups, and parts of our organization.

Looking Ahead

CareMore plans to expand its virtual care program, ultimately aiming to create a hybrid between virtual care and in-person visits. For the team, adapting this model means having the right tools to overcome potential barriers quickly. With TigerConnect, they aren’t bombarded with constant connectivity issues, platform adoption resistance, or steep learning curves.

For health systems looking to implement the same, here’s Dr. Parvinchiha’s advice:

“Technology that can do multiple things and help you achieve a variety of goals beyond just a virtual encounter is critical to limit the confusion among your clinicians. Second, focus on the clinician barriers, not just patient barriers. Third, start thinking about post-COVID… making sure the technology you have can continue to scale after COVID is over and we’re back in our steady-state; that’s going to be absolutely important.”

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