As the dark cloud of COVID settled over us in March, hospitals across the country were looking for ways to help and support their inpatient teams. Providers and team members were worried about their own health and the health of their loved ones. The Beam Health mission never wavered: How can we continue to support our healthcare community during these unprecedented times? The start of the COVID lockdown coincided with our annual meeting and immediately demanded a change in our planned agenda. This meeting transformed into 4 days of surge planning for our existing clients and other communities that were reaching out to us for help. Beam had been practicing inpatient and outpatient telemedicine for years and there was no doubt this was going to be our way of supporting the community.
Community Healthcare Facility Obstacles
There were a few problems we were trying to solve for the community:
- How would hospital providers access specialists, such as Pulmonologist and Infectious Disease doctors, in order to properly handle complex COVID patients if transfer to a tertiary care center was not possible due to overcrowded hospitals at maximum capacity?
- How would community hospitals without dedicated hospitalists (providers that practice only in the hospitals) or a limited pool of hospitalists provide safe and effective patient care in the event of a surge?
- How do facilities provide adequate patient care while potentially battling onsite staff illnesses and quarantines?
Our Background & Approach
Beam Healthcare has been providing hospital and clinic telemedicine hospitalist and specialist services for years. We are also accredited by The Joint Commission. Our primary focus for clients is on designing a financially viable telemedicine program, implementing the program, providing in-person/virtual staff education, and maintaining the program with our clinical services.
Even with considerable planning any time you “Go Live” with a program, unforeseen hurdles are unexpected challenges that are often lurking in the wings; luckily technology is the least of the worries.
- Beam is focused on logistics and the practice of telemedicine
- With our years of experience in telemedicine, implementing the technology needed to support our community healthcare partners has been the easiest.
- Technology takes a day or two to install for smaller programs.
- The practice of quality medicine and logistic focus on efficiency/sustainability is what requires time and commitment.
- We are not about filling shifts, but here as partners for long term
- We provide comprehensive care through a core team of providers.
- We only hire providers as part-time or full-time employees for the highest quality.
- As a remote company, we were named one of the Best Workplaces in 2020 by Inc. Magazine.
- Beam has been a paperless company from Day 0
- We are experts in efficiency and logistics optimization.
- We are able to pass our efficiency cost-savings to our clients.
- Quality in the field of telemedicine is a reality
- We have been focused on quality from the start.
- Our business intelligence data dashboards are part of our services.
- As mentioned above, we were accredited by The Joint Commission soon after proving our telemedicine model in our early days.
COVID Surge Coverage with Volunteers
To properly prepare for the surge, our partners needed Beam to 1) design/implement a program, 2) select hardware/software, and 3) provide tele-clinicians to care for patients. You can also read more about this in our Scalable Telemedicine Case study.
- Utilizing existing client equipment or lending ours:
Some partners did not have inpatient telemedicine equipment. For those, we were able to get them up and running with their existing iPads or Windows computer for less than $1,000 in cost. Our goal was to use the resources available to provide clinical coverage for the unknown future with declining revenues. It didn't have all the bells and whistles of our 24/7 telemedicine programs, but it served the purpose of surge preparation. It was a good starting point for uncertainty.
- Clinician Volunteers
Our clinical team of providers from hospitalists, pulmonologists, and respiratory therapists all volunteered, without any retainer fee, to be available each day to be called upon. This was their way of doing what was right.
- Program Implementation
Within 2 weeks, we had the program up and running. We did multiple intake assessments to understand their clinical/financial resources, designed the temporary surge program without heavy investment, provided onsite education/training to multiple staff members, and created an online portal for each client to access FAQ/video material as it pertained to their sites.
We worked tirelessly on ensuring proper staffing, efficient logistics, and experienced team players as the foundation of our COVID surge plan. We were prepared and equipped to provide quality care during the COVID-19 pandemic with our partners.
Our partners were all very grateful for the provider and community support Beam put forth. Proof we were all in this together!
Is COVID Surge a business model?
When others in the community came to us and said, ‘business must be good for Beam now’, our response to that was: we’ve believed in Telemedicine for years and the only thing COVID has done is open the eyes of the payors to cost-savings and efficiency and made healthcare communities more innovative.
So yes, it made it easier that we didn’t have to explain the word telemedicine and the ‘why’ anymore, but the COVID surge is not a business model for Beam. Especially when our healthcare facility partners were hurting by 60-70% in revenue during the surge. We are a company based on long term partnerships instead of a short term opportunistic view. We were here long before COVID and we will be here long after to serve the community.
If you are passionate about healthcare equality and supporting communities, we would love to partner with you. Feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here.
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