Telehealth Solutions in Wisconsin's Free & Charitable Clinics

Implementing a telehealth infrastructure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 for vulnerable populations in Wisconsin

Full Project Name:Implementing Telehealth Solutions in Wisconsin's Free & Charitable ClinicsPrimary Community Organization:Wisconsin Association of Free and Charitable ClinicsAward Amount:$246,406
Award Date
April2020
Project Duration:12 months

Project Description Narrative:


The Wisconsin Association of Free and Charitable Clinics exists to support and strengthen Wisconsin's vast network of free and charitable clinics (FCCs) and their uninsured/underinsured patients. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wisconsin's Safer at Home Order, the need for social distancing, and other factors, many of Wisconsin's FCCs have had to limit their services or close their doors. Patients who rely on FCCs as their medical homes no longer have the same access to health care. For many, their only alternative is to turn to already overburdened hospital emergency rooms. Through this award, project partners will implement a telehealth infrastructure in Wisconsin's safety-net providers to enable continuation of services to vulnerable populations and prevent patients from overburdening local health systems.

Additional community partner:
North Carolina Association of Free and Charitable Clinics

MCW academic partners:
Staci Young, PhD, Family and Community Medicine; Rebecca Lundh, MD, Family and Community Medicine

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:


  • Reached all Wisconsin free and charitable clinics to assess interest and ability to implement telehealth solutions, conducting readiness assessment to determine needs for each clinic
     
  • Established contract with telehealth vendor Updox to provide services to clinics enrolled in the program, including equipment, training, and support as well as the ability to host multi-chat rooms to allow interpreters to join
     
  • Built a statewide telehealth network, implementing a telehealth infrastructure for 41 free and charitable clinics throughout the state, which launched telehealth services (video chats and secure text messages) to communicate with patients for medical, dental, and behavioral health visits
     
  • Established a community of practice and an advisory board to guide implementation and ongoing delivery of services
     
  • Created education and training materials for patients, providers, and clinic leaders
     
  • Established a support-help desk to provide clinics with guidance and troubleshooting
     
  • Documented the delivery of more than 4,300 patient visits through virtual video chats with approximately 175 clinic providers from Wisconsin free and charitable clinics as of May 2021

 

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