Johns Hopkins Medicine surpasses 1.5 million



Johns Hopkins Medicine physicians and clinicians have performed more than 1.5 million telemedicine visits with more than 420,000 patients in Maryland, Washington, DC, Florida and nationwide since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic , according to the Johns Hopkins Office of Telemedicine.

“I’ve said it before, adopting telemedicine was a dream come true in a nightmare scenario,” says Rebecca Canino, executive director of the Office of Telemedicine. “I’m so grateful to Johns Hopkins management for not only anticipating the need for this, but investing in it early so we were ready to meet the sudden demand.”

While some medical visits must be in person, about 60% of Johns Hopkins physicians and clinical providers have used telemedicine at least once since March 2020, according to the Office of Telemedicine.

“It really is part of routine outpatient care two and a half years into the pandemic,” says Helen Hughes, MD, MPH, medical director for the Office of Telemedicine. “Now it’s our job to figure out how to make it the best it can be and to make sure we deliver the best clinically and technically.”

Some doctors and clinicians have performed a handful of telemedicine visits while others have performed thousands. Some had never seen a patient virtually before the pandemic, while others were already practicing remote care.

Looking ahead, Hughes says the Office of Telemedicine hopes to expand its remote patient monitoring capabilities into the ambulatory and complex care space, enabling more proactive care of patients at home. As digital healthcare tools are used with increasing regularity, ensuring equitable access is more important than ever, she says. The office, made up of a dozen people with a combination of administrative, clinical and IT backgrounds, is working with Johns Hopkins management and the Baltimore Mayor’s Office to help make digital health tools more accessible to everyone.

Telemedicine will also be used to make specialist care more accessible to patients at Johns Hopkins Medicine hospitals, says Hughes, “to keep patients in the right beds, within their communities and close to their support systems, and to avoid unnecessary transfers. The idea is to connect patients at any Johns Hopkins hospital to specialist physicians on the East Baltimore campus via video, also known as teleconsultation. A pilot project, for example, remotely connects patients in the neonatal intensive care unit at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center with pediatric specialists at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

“The overall goal is that no matter where you go in the Johns Hopkins healthcare system, you get the same high level of access to our specialty and subspecialty care,” Canino says.

Hughes and Canino are available for talks on telemedicine and Telehealth Awareness Week, which runs through September 24. Three Johns Hopkins clinicians who regularly use telemedicine are also available for interview:

  • Risa Wolf, MD, Assistant Professor, Division of Pediatric Endocrinology
  • Denis Antoine II, MD, Director, Center for Addiction and Pregnancy, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
  • Sherilyn Brinkley, MSN, Nurse Practitioner and Clinical and Research Services Program Manager, Viral Hepatitis Center

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