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Telehealth Innovations in the Era of COVID-19

New Knowledge, Innovations, and Improvements

The University of Miami Hospital and Clinics' Ambulatory settings and nursing staff emerged as key leaders in embracing telehealth and technology-enhanced visits during the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2020, a comprehensive effort to move face-to-face health encounters to telehealth modalities occurred nearly seamlessly. Within the Nursing Professional Practice Model, relationship-based nursing care was the anchor of the approach to care. Most important, the alignment of nursing practice to the essential elements of care led to successful outcomes within the telehealth environment. Within the interprofessional team approach, the telehealth environment had a physician champion, division leadership, nursing, and advanced practice provider (nurse practitioner and physician assistant) leadership to assure that the telehealth modality would offer optimal outcomes as did in-person patient/health care provider encounters. As Nicole Doell, MSN, RN, AMB-BC, Executive Director of Clinical Operations for the UMHC/SCCC Ambulatory Clinics noted: “ When we went live with telehealth within the brief window of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were developing the infrastructure, educating patients and families, assuring their comfort level with telehealth, and educating about zoom telehealth visits. It was a success story from its inception to our current high level of engagement with patients, families, and staff. Notably, all family members could participate in telehealth visits with the patient’s consent which was so important when pandemic restrictions did not allow visits/family in our ambulatory settings at UHealth.”