PRP001: "Hello, how are you?": Keeping patients connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deborah Kopansky-Giles, MSc, DC; Gail Sumagang, BSN, RN

Abstract

Context: We are facing unprecedented times with the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing and isolation, which poses increasing risk for primary care patients due to lack of opportunity for in-person interaction with their health team, particularly for those who are vulnerable and at high risk. Objectives: a) To ensure that vulnerable/high-risk patients/families continue to be connected to and supported by the family health team during COVID-19; b) To understand the nature of patient concerns in uncertain times and provide resources to support their physical/mental health; c) To understand the viability and impact of this program on participating Interdisciplinary Health Professionals (IHPs) in a primary care setting. Design: Iterative program evaluation using Stufflebeam's CIPP approach (Context, Input, Process/Methods, Product) with ongoing quantitative and qualitative data collection. Setting: Inner city, integrated hospital-based family health team (FHT). Participants: Department health professionals and patients prioritized as 'high risk' or vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. Intervention: Wellness Check-In (WCI) IHP callers of the family health team (FHT) were recruited to preventatively connect with high risk patients (seniors, underhoused, mental health, those on social assistance etc., identified through electronic medical record search) of our FHT. Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) were recruited to follow up with any patients identifying specific concerns focused around social determinants of health during the call. Callers and SMEs underwent training to the caller scripting, online resource portal, and data collection process. Weekly debriefs were conducted to assist with iterative improvement. Consultation with the department Patient and Family Advisory Committee occurred at outset and throughout the program to ensure appropriateness and relevance. Outcome measures: Data collection included: # of patients reached, length of call, desire for follow-up call, # of calls escalated to SMEs, context of patient concern, and satisfaction with the call from the perspective of both the patient and the caller. Initial Results: 2800 high-risk patients were identified. 14 WCI callers and 8 SMEs participated. 400 calls had been made and data from these calls to date collected. Data collection continuing in progress.

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