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Telehealth transforms healthcare at Bay Area Community Health

Blog contribution by Bay Area Community Health 

At the onset of COVID-19, we had to reduce barriers to care… – Dr. Jamena

The COVID-19 pandemic required healthcare organizations to be creative in delivering and managing patient care. Suddenly Bay Area Community Health clinics, which have been the mainstay of its services, needed to close all but essential cases. To protect the safety of patients and staff, BACH had to pivot its services to serve 69,000 patients at home.

Dr. Gemma Jamena, Clinical Director, Liberty Clinic, believes that “need drives innovation.” She notes, “At the onset of the COVID-19 shutdown, we had to reduce the barriers to care to serve patients in whatever ways we could. We needed to make sure there were no care gaps. We had to be innovative, especially for our homebound patients and those without transportation,” said Dr. Jamena.

Before the pandemic, BACH leadership had recognized the benefits of virtual health communications and had begun exploring options for telehealth services. As a result, BACH’s telehealth doctor visits were up and running within two weeks of the mandated clinic shutdown. Telehealth became a critical way for patients and their doctors to stay in touch with each other.

According to Trushna Nagindas, Patient Wellness Program Manager, BACH staff immediately began making thousands of “well-check” calls to patients to see if they needed food, medicine, transportation or medical services and to connect them with appropriate care resources when required.

Although some patients prefer in-person, “high touch” doctor visits, Trushna believes that during the past two years, telehealth has become a norm that is here to stay, providing a great option as the clinics reopen within safety regulations.

Dr. Jamena also feels that telehealth and the pandemic experience have proven that out of crisis comes great opportunity. “More patients have become less passive about health services and more proactive partners in their care.”

You can read the full piece on BACH’s telehealth services in their annual report HERE.

You can also learn more about BACH by visiting their site HERE.