Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) is an academic community health system committed to providing high-quality care in Cambridge, Somerville and Boston’s metro-north communities. CHA has expertise in primary care, specialty care, and mental health/substance use services, as well as caring for diverse and complex populations. The health system encompasses two hospitals, a network of primary care and specialty practices, and the Cambridge Public Health Department. CHA patients have seamless access to advanced care through the system’s affiliation with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. CHA is a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate. It is also affiliated with the Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and Tufts University School of Medicine.
CHA had been using Epic software for its electronic health records for several years. The health system had been in the planning process for telehealth for the past two years, but the COVID-19 pandemic sped up the timeline significantly.
Despite the federal government grant of a temporary waiver to use non-HIPAA-compliant platforms during the coronavirus emergency period, CHA did not want to place patients and its healthcare systems at risk long-term. Therefore, CHA needed a HIPAA-compliant and efficient way to perform telehealth services throughout the pandemic – a solution to make the process simple and secure for patients and providers alike.
CHA sought a partnership with Maven Wave to build, accelerate, and deploy a HIPAA-compliant telehealth platform. Due to the pandemic, the launch was accelerated to a few weeks instead of a few months or longer. Because not all video platforms are equipped with security measures to protect personal health information, the solution needed to ensure patient connections would be secure so medical records and conversations could not be compromised.
Maven Wave quickly developed a cloud-based integration between Google Meet and Epic, so that CHA could securely perform telehealth services throughout COVID-19 and well into the future. The revolutionary connector scales to meet CHA’s needs without its information technology department needing to intervene. This platform is highly secure, only allowing those who are authenticated into the tool on the provider side to launch Meet visits. Because Google Meet is part of G Suite, CHA will not incur additional fees, whereas bringing another telehealth platform onboard would involve additional and ongoing expenses. Additionally, the framework allows for multiple languages, and Maven Wave developed a custom skin for CHA to customize its virtual waiting room.
The HIPAA-compliant platform designed using Maven Wave’s technological and healthcare IT expertise, coupled with CHA’s healthcare experience, has enabled CHA to meet today’s challenging telehealth demands. CHA patients now have the ability to connect with their care teams virtually and can rest assured that the connection is secure. Patients are experiencing a best-in-class alternative to an in-person visit. The integration to CHA’s electronic medical records saves providers time and ensures continuity of the quality care that CHA patients expect. From March-June 2020, CHA was able to sustain 65-70 percent of its projected service volume in Primary Care and 90 percent of its volume in Psychiatry, with the majority of visits as telehealth.
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