Virtual Visits and Analytics Enable Continued Delivery of Ambulatory Services During COVID-19 Pandemic

Article Summary


With the emergence of COVID-19, Texas Children’s Hospital was challenged to make data-informed decisions that would allow it to continue offering critically needed healthcare services, while ensuring the safety of its patients, staff, and providers. Texas Children’s dramatically expanded telehealth capacity, converting most in-person primary, specialty, and mental healthcare visits to a phone or video appointment to better meet patient needs. The organization leveraged the Health Catalyst® Data Operating System (DOS™) platform and a virtual health platform to visualize, monitor, and manage the conversion to virtual health, in addition to managing in-person visit volume—enabling the effective management of outpatient capacity, utilization, and financial performance.

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Virtual health visit

THE CHALLENGE

Texas Children’s Hospital introduced virtual visits to increase appointment availability in 2019. With the emergence of COVID-19, Texas Children’s was challenged to make data-informed decisions that would allow it to continue offering critically needed healthcare services, while ensuring the safety of its patients, staff, and providers.

Featured Outcomes
  • Nearly 70X increase in the number of telehealth visits—in just two weeks. Approximately 11,000 weekly virtual health visits.
  • 64 specialties providing virtual health visits—nearly 2,000 providers have completed a virtual health appointment.
  • Successfully maintained pre-COVID-19 visit volumes.

THE PROJECT

Texas Children’s dramatically expanded telehealth capacity, converting most in-person primary, specialty, and mental healthcare visits to a phone or video appointment to better meet patient needs.

  • COVID-19 Nurse Triage Line: Available 24/7, parents of patients can call and speak with a specially trained pediatric nurse, who provides basic COVID-19 information.
  • Virtual Visits: Many women’s services and pediatric in-person visits are occurring via a phone or video appointment.
  • Texas Children’s Pediatric Workflow Changes: A physician reviews all appointment requests. If a patient’s health screen indicates symptoms or exposure to COVID-19, the organization converts the patient to a phone or video appointment.
  • Texas Children’s Health Plan Provider Communications: The organization pushed out communications to its members, highlighting the delivery of virtual health services. The Center for Children and Women are conducting visits via phone.

The organization leverages the Health Catalyst® Data Operating System (DOS™) platform and a virtual health platform to visualize, monitor, and manage the conversion to virtual health, in addition to managing in-person visit volume. Texas Children’s executive team and leaders review visit data each day, including daily visits volume and visit type (in-person, telephone, or video) by service line, and the number of available and scheduled visits each day.

THE RESULT

Texas Children’s is using DOS and technology to meet the demand for healthcare, effectively managing outpatient capacity, utilization, and financial performance.

  • Nearly 70X increase in the number of telehealth visits—in just two weeks. Approximately 11,000 weekly virtual health visits.
  • 64 specialties providing virtual health visits—nearly 2,000 providers have completed a virtual health appointment.
  • Successfully maintained pre-COVID-19 visit volumes.

“Analytics are critical to our ability to monitor daily performance, and have enabled us to identify where we need to make improvements.”

– Carrie Rys, Assistant Vice President, Ambulatory Operations
Analytics Improves Population Health and Drives Efficiencies