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By John DiAngelo, Inspira Health President and CEO
The COVID-19 pandemic is yet not behind us. However, I am grateful to share that currently our number of COVID-19 patients appears to be on a downward trend. As all of us resume more activities in our daily lives, please pay attention to social distancing, hand washing and wearing a mask when you leave your home. It has made a difference.
Another important message I want to share with you is my profound gratitude to the employees of Inspira Health. Certainly, those on the front-line—in our ambulances and in our hospitals—have earned our respect as heroes.
Other Inspira staff have responded to whatever was needed. Many perform their jobs in new locations, add extra shifts and take on new assignments as needed. Everyone is doing whatever they can do to fulfill our commitment to provide safe care to our patients at all of our locations.
Is everything open at Inspira Health?
All services are available. Extra safety precautions are in place at all of our locations.
- On May 26, we resumed performing elective procedures and surgeries at all of our hospitals. Patients are undergoing procedures for orthopedics, GI, pain management, gynecology and more.
- Our outpatient services are open. A few locations may have different hours of operations for the next few weeks so please call 1-800-INSPIRA to confirm.
- We have seven Urgent Care Centers open: Washington Township; Somerdale, East Vineland, Vineland, Mullica Hill, Glassboro and Williamstown. Over the next several weeks, we will re-open our centers in Haddon Township, Laurel Springs, Mantua and Woolwich.
- We have same-day appointments at our primary care physician practices. And, our physicians remain available via telehealth visits. While many of our specialists have maintained office visits, all of our specialists have been available for non-routine care and via telemedicine. A plan is in place to re-open all of our Inspira Medical Group offices in the next several weeks.
Let’s talk more about Telemedicine.
Inspira has offered a telemedicine services prior to COVID-19 so we were able to quickly introduce it to our patients as a viable option during the last few months.
- Our primary care physicians have conducted 8,456 virtual encounters with their patients since March 17.
- Our specialist physicians and urgent care centers have conducted 3,590 encounters with patients since March 23.
- Our Behavioral Health therapists have conducted 12,000 patient sessions in less than three months.
The community’s confidence to see their doctor over the phone or on their computer has been a positive outcome of this pandemic.
We have listened. During this pandemic, Inspira conducted an online survey of our community members to learn their interest in telemedicine. 79% of those who responded to the survey told us that they were moderately to very interested in using telemedicine during the pandemic.
What’s more, many said they would be interested in using telemedicine services as the pandemic subsides, especially for primary care sick visits and primary care annual visits.
Another example of how Inspira’s innovative spirit benefits our patients.
Last fall, we introduced Health+ as a new way to care for chronically ill patients in their homes. The doctor identifies a patient who could benefit from a wearable device such as a blood pressure cuff or pulse oximeter (clasps on the top of your pointer finger, to measure oxygen saturation in the blood). Inspira Health+ nurses then give the patient an electronic tablet to use to check in with the nurse, daily if need be.
We quickly adapted that program to care for our COVID-19 patients. If a COVID-19 patient is treated in the Emergency Department at Inspira Medical Center Vineland, but not sick enough to be admitted, the patient may be sent home with a pulse oximeter to check the level of oxygen in the blood, a way to measure their lung function. They are then monitored for five days and receive a virtual visit by one of our Inspira physicians.
Or, for example, when a COVID-19 patient is ready to be discharged from Inspira Medical Center Mullica Hill but the doctor still wants to monitor that their lung function is steadily improving, the patient receives a pulse oximeter so they can check their oxygen level three times day, continuing their recovery in the comfort of their own home. The patient also receives a follow-up virtual visit from an Inspira physician.