During the second quarter of 2020, primary care providers saw a more than 50% drop in volume, posing an increased risk to patients’ health, particularly those with chronic conditions. Elective surgeries also ceased along with a drop in routine visits, creating a financial crisis across the continuum of care. Providers also struggled to find balance between treating patients who tested positive for COVID-19 and safely maintaining continuity of care for all patients.
SWHR launched an immediate response to the pandemic to protect both patients and providers in their North Texas network. The speed and flexibility of their response demonstrated the inherent strengths of an integrated, data-driven approach to population health management and an infrastructure of support for physicians.
In March 2020, SWHR established a pandemic command center for operational and clinical leaders to coordinate the response. First up: direct support to community physicians to adopt and scale telehealth. In-person visits were replaced with virtual visits nearly overnight across the network. SWHR also used data to identify and then reach out to at-risk patients urging them not to delay care. It implemented remote monitoring for those with COVID-19 and employed value-based payment models to ease the financial challenges faced by community physicians — all within a few weeks.