Blog guest authored by Venkat Jegadeesan, Jim Arrington, and Si Wong from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
When the pandemic hit the United States in March 2020, many organizations needed suddenly to be able to operate remotely, including hospitals and academic medical centers. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Massachusetts collaborated with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to rapidly build a telehealth solution to serve the needs of its ambulatory patients seen during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
For providers to be able to meet with patients remotely, a single, supportable, scalable, secure, and easy-to-use telehealth system was needed. Specifically, BIDMC needed an effortless system for their 1,250 clinicians to use for telehealth. Existing tools were difficult for patients to navigate and could not integrate with BIDMC’s existing clinical workflows and electronic health records.
COVID-19 spurs need for secure telehealth solution that is easy to use and support
As large swaths of appointments were converted from in-person to telehealth visits, BIDMC found their doctors were using a variety of video conferencing platforms to connect with their patients. The move to telehealth became an unsupportable and onerous process for patients, clinicians, and BIDMC operations. In response, BIDMC needed to quickly stand up a pilot program to illustrate how a standardized video conferencing solution, built with the end-user experience in mind, could enable a provider to have improved oversight and security while connecting data to their internal systems.
Building out a secure telehealth platform within six weeks
BIDMC and AWS, collaborating with AWS Health Partner Slalom Consulting, built a lightweight, clientless, and secure telehealth application, which would work across all mobile and web-enabled devices.
Leveraging Amazon Chime SDK, the team was quickly able to demonstrate not only that such an app could be rapidly developed, but also that it could potentially integrate with existing scheduling platforms. This would allow for patients to join regardless of device, operating system, or technical capability and not change the workflow of the clinicians. Once the proof of concept was built, BIDMC scoped and implemented a minimum viable product for go-live. It focused on core capabilities, like enabling both front and rear cameras on mobile devices and maximizing screen utilization for personal interaction. Future capabilities, like screen sharing, were prioritized for later iterations.
Building upon a successful telehealth foundation
Over the past two years, BIDMC has deployed the telehealth solution throughout the rest of its organization, with a daily telehealth volume of 300-400 visits. The team has added support for the hospital’s 10 major patient languages, including translated platform content and integration into the hospital Interpreter Services system. In addition, the team will be deploying screen sharing capabilities in its upcoming feature set release.
Feedback for the tool has been very positive with patients liking the ease of use and no app installations required on their personal devices. Clinicians are enjoying the integrated features of the platform in their electronic health record scheduling system.
Utilizing Amazon Chime SDK, along with other AWS services, enabled BIDMC to quickly build and deploy a telehealth platform. It is straightforward for patients and providers to use, effortless for IT to support, and integrates seamlessly with BIDMC’s existing clinical workflows and electronic health records.
Moreover, BIDMC has successfully deployed the platform, and received very positive feedback, while they continue to expand the platform’s capabilities.
To learn more about AWS for Health—an offering of curated AWS services and AWS Partner Network solutions used by thousands of healthcare and life sciences customers globally, visit AWS for Health and AWS for Health Solutions webpages or contact an AWS Representative.
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