Trial in Telehealth Supports Our Growing Health System

Did you know that a Stony Brook Medicine work group is developing a plan to advance our health system’s telehealth capability? In the era of rapidly developing technology, telehealth offers promising opportunities.

According to Kristie Golden, who is leading the team, a diverse group of champions from across the hospital, Stony Brook Medicine University Physicians and various Health Sciences schools (Health Technology and Management, Medicine, Nursing, and Social Welfare) have begun meeting to develop a workplan focused on implementation. “We are finding that faculty and staff are excited about this initiative. They are jumping on board to become involved, which is very motivating,” noted Kristie.

At Stony Brook Medicine, there are unique opportunities that will benefit our health system and the residents throughout Suffolk County and beyond.

One of the team members, Dr. Kimberly Noel, a resident in the Department of Family, Population and Preventive Medicine, said, “With the much anticipated affiliations of Southampton Hospital and Eastern Long Island Hospital, our patient populations reflect more diverse and geographically widespread groups.

“Telehealth can connect academic specialists to regions that have historically faced provider capacity limits; facilitate the transfer of patients among hospitals; and help promote value in healthcare delivery by aiding to reduce hospital readmissions, to ensure adequate follow-up and better patient self-care,” she said.

Kimberly noted that with the support of Department Chair Dr. Iris Granek, a team led by Dr. Gerald Kelly has begun a research project called Stony Brook Connected Care: Randomized Control Trial in Telehealth. The team has started virtual visits and patient enrollment for the Telehealth Trial with exciting first experiences.

The need for access to specialists via telehealth on the East End has been confirmed by both Bob Chaloner, President and CEO, Southampton Hospital, and Paul Connor, President and CEO, Eastern Long Island Hospital. They are on board and offering their support for the initiative.

According to Sue Schade, Stony Brook Medicine’s Interim Chief Information Officer, an investment in telehealth can help advance the strategy of a health system. Sue noted, “Telehealth, or connected health as some call it, takes different forms depending on the provider organization and its strategy. The primary driver may be extending geographic reach by providing telehealth services to more rural areas, or it may be largely a focus on consumer engagement.”

Sue pointed out that there are common themes for successful initiatives. Based on her experience in several healthcare systems in recent years, Sue offered these tips, among others, for success to the work group:

Strategy is key: The organization must first determine the key drivers for the initiative. Is it to extend reach, provide an easier patient experience or a combination? 

  • At Stony Brook, we’ve established that it is a combination.

Tactics and specific programs will follow: Once the strategy is clear, the specific clinical services and offerings that are needed the most will become clear.

  • To begin answering that question, a survey was sent to department administrators.

On behalf of the leadership across Stony Brook Medicine, I’d like to thank the team for working to advance our clinical, educational and research strategy through the coordinated implementation of telehealth across our health system.

Reuven

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