River Valley Counseling Center increases productivity and experience with telehealth
The Holyoke Clinic at River Valley Counseling Center in Holyoke, MA has always tried to make ends meet with its technology.
His efforts to revamp and improve his technology were all trial and error.
Staff were band-aiding their technologies, struggling to figure out what the root of the problems were when disruptions occurred. Was it the computer itself? Network connectivity? A bug in the signal? To put the extent of the problems into perspective, some hardware was more than ten years old; it could easily take clinicians five minutes just to reach the login screen.
“When we thought one thing was solved, another hurdle arose,” recalls Chassity Crowell-Miller, LICSW, a clinical social worker at the clinic. “This element of touch and go was particularly challenging for mental health care, where providers can help with sensitive and traumatic issues and were unnecessarily disrupted and inhibited by outdated technology.
“Overall, the ability to help our clinicians, as well as the treatment and overall experiences of our patients, has been negatively affected,” she added.
Importantly, the organization’s Holyoke Clinic caters to an underserved population, with many patients being of low socioeconomic status. Throughout the community, rates of poverty, school dropouts, substance abuse and violence are high.
“For vendors in our community and beyond, the past two years are nothing like what they’ve ever seen in the field,” Crowell-Miller observed. “In the early days of COVID, when many organizations and communities were able to seamlessly transition to virtual learning and working in order to continue their work, the Holyoke Clinic at River Valley Counseling Center was not set up for this shift. abrupt to technology.
“While telehealth has improved access to many outpatient services, marginalized patients – rural, poor, elderly and minority patients – may not have benefited equally from the expansion of telehealth. “, she continued. “With all of this in mind, the River Valley Advice Center needed to be provided with the necessary IT equipment, infrastructure and advice to support its employees at our Holyoke site – both in person and via telehealth. .”
The cost of outdated technology is often not discussed, but for vendors to do their jobs effectively, a solid technology infrastructure is a table-top requirement, said Stephen Moss, senior vice president and general manager, workforce. connected work, at Insight, an IT and health company. infrastructure company.
“The past two years have forced healthcare providers to catch up on IT and dramatically accelerate digital transformation,” he said. “For many like River Valley Counseling Center, you have to start with the basics.
“They deal with the impact of legacy infrastructure that is sometimes decades old, not to mention extremely outdated devices that amplify the frustration of resources that should facilitate their work, actually hampering their ability to care for patients,” he said. he continued.
River Valley challenges stood out from Insight.
“To help, we focused on how to improve productivity and the customer experience, particularly to address lag and frozen sessions during telehealth consultations,” Moss explained. “A simple upgrade to 50 new Intel-powered desktops and laptops made daily multitasking an afterthought rather than a source of frustration for clinic staff.
“Being able to hold a telehealth session without hanging up not only allows medical providers in River Valley to more effectively meet the needs of their clients, eliminating disruptions, they gain credibility and the ability to treat more people on a daily basis,” he added.
The Insight and Intel teams have taken a hands-on approach to delivering and implementing the right technology, at the right price, said Jason Kimrey, vice president, US Channels and Partner Programs, Intel.
“The strategy was informed by the mindset that having the best technology was the most effective way to maximize productivity for River Valley and its advisors,” he said. “To help guide the process, we collaborated and leveraged our ecosystem of partners to understand the unique challenges and pain points of the organization.”
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TRY THE CHALLENGE
With River Valley considerations in mind, Intel prioritized implementing more modernized devices and hardware that updated core infrastructure, Kimrey said. Intel has upgraded network switches, physical hard drives, chips and more to accommodate the increased bandwidth needed to use telehealth, he added.
“As a team, Insight’s attorneys helped put it all together and put it together,” Moss explained. “Moving from almost all remote services before the pandemic to doing most of their work via telehealth is a monumental culture shift. Coping with new technologies should not be a burden for caregivers; it should be an intuitive and streamlined experience.
“When we work with organizations like River Valley, we start by understanding what their unique challenges are, who is affected, and what they need to accomplish in their day-to-day work,” he continued. “Then we determine the right technology based on the caregivers’ individual personalities and needs to optimize their user experience, productivity and ability to help their clients.”
Insight manages the rapid provisioning, configuration and deployment of virtual desktop environments so that new devices are ready to use with minimal configuration and network connection required by the organization’s IT team or employees, a he added.
“Insight also has the ability to provide virtual IT support for day-to-day device health management, freeing up organizations with limited internal IT resources, such as the River Valley Consulting Center, to focus on projects. more meaningful transformations,” says Moss.
“For River Valley, they have gained the ability to quickly deliver new devices to their staff that are ready to work with the applications they need,” he added. “Their healthcare providers can now work just as effectively from home or in the clinic.”
Technology is key to improving people’s lives, and River Valley has really felt it, Crowell-Miller said. Highlights of River Valley so far, she reported, have included:
- Improved client and clinician experience. There have been tangible benefits for the customer experience, both internally and externally. The provider organization increased its telehealth services from 5% before the pandemic to 95% at the height of the pandemic, while removing common barriers such as latency and loss of revenue due to no-show rates previous. Now, with the ability to adapt, adjust and switch to telehealth, if needed, clinicians can meet patients where they are.
- Increased productivity. The technology solved a loss of productivity and slowness for the River Valley consulting center, which impacted the quality of services it was able to provide. Even just connecting to computers is much faster and takes seconds. Specifically, the organization has significantly improved productivity by up to approximately 25% for clinicians with minimal access to home technology, making it easier to use the office for virtual or in-person visits if needed.
- Provide community resources. The River Valley counseling center is now able to better establish itself to help and serve the community. This technology is not only transactional from the perspective of the healthcare provider; the establishment of this infrastructure is mutually beneficial for clinicians and patients, well beyond traditional appointments and the organization of telehealth sessions. This technology has helped the River Valley Counseling Center put resources in the hands of clients. River Valley works on these computers while seeing a patient in person, and staff are able to help provide resources such as databases, printed materials and more to patients.
TIPS FOR OTHERS
“Because every organization is different, it’s really important to make sure you’re working with a technology partner who not only understands the healthcare industry and how technology plays a vital role in patient care, but also the challenges and the unique needs of your operations, the clinicians, patients and community you serve,” Crowell-Miller said.