North Shore Community Health, a network of family health centers that provides comprehensive care for patients across three community-based sites including Gloucester, Salem, and Peabody as well as seven school-based locations, announced today that the success of their telehealth program has allowed them to thrive amid the COVID-19 pandemic, setting them up to better serve patients across the North Shore.
In March of 2020, North Shore Community Health kicked off its telehealth program in order to better accommodate patients when the pandemic officially made its way to the United States. The network pivoted incredibly quickly and successfully to this new model, largely thanks to a dedicated staff working around the clock to keep everyone safe. Telehealth is a safe and convenient way to deliver near concierge-level care, see patients during extended hours, and allows for proactive outreach and timely follow-up.
To date, North Shore Community Health has found that the team is seeing patients more frequently than before COVID-19. Telehealth gives caregivers the opportunity to schedule visits seven days a week, have more intimate and productive visits, as well as spend more individual time with patients, resulting in a 300% increase in doctor-patient time.
During the first two critical months of the pandemic, North Shore Community Health made over 10,000 calls and reached nearly 1,500 patients who were most vulnerable. All staff were provided laptops and remote access to patient records, allowing them to continue to pro-actively engage with high-risk groups. Since mid-March, North Shore Community Health has seen over 8,000 patients via telehealth and had over 28,400 telehealth visits in total. Additionally, no-show rates for behavioral health visits have gone from 30%–50% to under 10% as North Shore Community Health patients appear to value the improved access.
“With COVID-19, the Black Lives Matter movement, and an election year, the inequities of care for people of color has come into stark reality for many Americans,” said North Shore Community Health President and CEO, Margaret Brennan. “North Shore Community Health has successfully weathered the pandemic storm so far and is poised to continue providing extraordinary care to new and current patients, regardless of the ability to pay.”
North Shore Community Health Telehealth is available Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday–Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. In-office care is by appointment only, Monday–Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00p.m. Call 978-744-8388 or visit NSCHI.org for more information.