On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as a global health emergency (WHO, 2020). COVID-19 is an infectious disease that causes mild to severe respiratory illnesses. The disease was first discovered in Wuhan, China, but quickly spread across the world. The novelty and scale of this virus soon began to overwhelm health systems everywhere, including the United States. As the pandemic surged, hospitals had to figure out how to care for an influx of their very sick COVID-19 patients on top of their usual patient loads. To mitigate these challenges, providers turned to telemedicine. Telemedicine is a service that healthcare providers use to connect with patients through virtual means such as video calls and instant messaging (CMS, 2020). In June 2020, Jefferson Health received funding to purchase iPads and remote patient monitoring (RPM) devices to connect high risk patients with telemedicine resources. However, many Jefferson patients struggle to access and utilize telemedicine resources. This digital divide is largely driven by limited access to Web based platforms and low digital health literacy among patients. Thus, the digital onboarding taskforce (DOT) was created to bridge this digital gap experienced by patients. The DOT, made up of graduate public health students at Jefferson, provided phone-based outreach to patients to address existing barriers to using their devices. This capstone project explores the outcomes of the DOT program. The DOT served 336 patients, 90 of which were able to successfully connect their devices. We plan to utilize lessons learned from the DOT program to improve telemedicine initiatives at Jefferson.
Recommended CitationGuth, Amanda, "Evaluation of a Student-led Outreach to Address Digital Health Barriers during the COVID-19 Pandemic" (2021). Master of Public Health Capstone Presentations. Presentation 386.