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Nemours sees 2,200% rise in telehealth visits during COVID-19 pandemic

Nemours Children’s Health System launched its CareConnect telemedicine platform in 2015 — but use of the video visit service has surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, accounting for approximately 70% of clinic visits while Florida was under a stay-at-home order.

During several weeks, the daily use of telehealth appointments at Nemours rose to an average of 1,500 virtual visits per day. To keep up with demand, the health system — which operates 55 facilities in Florida — trained an additional 627 providers in using telehealth technology, giving it a total of 819 digitally enabled providers.

Robert Bridges, enterprise executive vice president and chief executive of Florida operations for Nemours Children’s Health Systems, expects telehealth visits to stabilize at somewhere between 20% and 30% of overall clinic volume as patients return to brick-and-mortar facilities, but he hopes insurers will continue to reimburse “on par” with in-office visits. In April, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation urged health insurers to “encourage the use of technology to help combat the spread of COVID-19” and “broaden access” to telehealth services. “I think it really has had a dramatic impact on many families that otherwise might have been challenged to be able to get access,” Bridges says.

Nemours Changes

  • Expansion: Nemours completed a buildout of its sixth floor at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Lake Nona, adding 30 intensive care beds — including 12 cardiac ICU beds, 10 NICU beds and eight regular ICU beds. The opening of the sixth floor marks an expansion and investment in Nemours’ growing cardiac program by bringing more than 100 team members together on one floor. Bridges says the hospital aims to one day perform pediatric heart transplants at the facility.
  • Lobby Redo: Nemours Children’s Specialty Care in Jacksonville — which connects to Wolfson’s Children’s Hospital via a walkway that stretches over I-95 — is completing a $3.5-million facelift of its clinic lobby, including a cafe with indoor and outdoor seating overlooking the St. Johns River, a family education center for patients and parents, an art gallery for patient artwork and an area for events.

 

Read more in Florida Trend's August issue.
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