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In the News: Coverage of Blue Shield's New Hospital Triage Tool, Telehealth and Teladoc Initiatives to Battle COVID-19

Blue Shield of California's response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) received multiple mentions in the media. For a full overview of the plan's efforts click here.

Fierce Healthcare highlighted Blue Shield's new app for hospitals. The app helps providers triage cases with minimal human contact.

The goal is to ensure patients are seeking care in the right settings as hospitals work to manage the demand for COVID-19 care. Terry Gilliland, M.D., executive vice president for healthcare quality and affordability at Blue Shield, told FierceHealthcare it’s critical to be “super judicious with how we use our resources” as cases spike.

“These next two weeks will be really critical for us and our communities,” he said. 

Gilliland said with all the work necessary to mobilize for the pandemic, a hospital may not have the capacity to build a tool like COVID-19 SERA on its own.  

Blue Shield can ensure the tool is live on a hospital’s site within 48 hours and will cover the cost of operating, updating and licensing to use the tool for three months for in-network providers. 

The tool is customizable to suit a hospital’s individual emergency response protocols and will be updated regularly with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. 

Separately, MedCity News covered Blue Shield's Teladoc and Telehealth services (we're waived fees for most members) which allow members to see physicians and other providers virtually. It wrote specifically about the services here. It included the news in this story about keeping patients and providers safe.

A physician who oversaw the building of a telemedicine practice from scratch in the midst of a natural disaster believes that training is paramount.

You have to train nurses and physician assistants on things like setting up the environment, whether there is enough lighting and what the background looks like, explained Dr. Richard E. Thorp, president, Paradise Medical Group whose group saw its practice destroyed by the Northern California campfires in November 2018.

“For doctors,  you just have to ask more questions because you can’t examine [patients] so there were more preparatory questions to cover all the bases,” Dr. Thorp said describing setting up the PMG Connect telehealth tool with the help of Blue Shield of California powered by Teladoc.

For the full story, click here.