Laura Boyd | Public Affairs Officer, Blanchfield Army Community Hospital
FT. CAMPBELL, KY. – Blanchfield Army Community Hospital launched a new pilot program, providing six virtual appointments Oct. 27. The virtual house call pilot is similar to healthcare’s origin, when medical providers visited patients’ homes; however, it is now offered through real-time streaming.
“The virtual house call, which makes more sense to the end user, is something that we are excited to pilot at Blanchfield and are eager to broaden our capabilities in the near future,” Col. Telita Crosland, BACH commander, said.
On the first day of the BACH virtual “house call” appointments, BACH saved patients around 120 minutes in waiting time and another 120 minutes of travel time for a total of 240 minutes. Some reasons a patient may be seen virtually may include hip pain, medication review, and periodic health assessments. Patients can be located at home, on a break in the car at work, in the hospital and virtually anywhere where a secure connection can occur. The virtual health pilot will gradually expand to more providers over the next couple of weeks.
BACH partnered with their Regional Health Command – Atlantic and Dwight D. Eisenhower Medical Center in February to offer patients who sought non-emergent care within the hospital’s Emergency Center to be seen virtually by a provider at EAMC. The pilot project quickly became a hit with patients receiving the care as well as the leadership at Fort Campbell and the Army.
“Having this pilot available at Blanchfield and the home of the 101st Airborne Division and Fort Campbell is exciting to see,” Maj. Gen. Gary J. Volesky, commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Fort Campbell, said. “As I walked through BACH’s Emergency Center and saw the potential for this technology to expand to our troops down range, it gives me great confidence in our medical care at all levels while our troops are deployed. With the 101st standing ready to support our nation’s needs on a moment’s notice, we are confident when our medical teams supporting our families back home and the troops downrange are continuously expanding their capabilities as well.”
While similar to its predecessor, the virtual house call pilot is different in that patients can be at home, work, or some other convenient setting while attending the virtual appointment.
“Virtual appointments can potentially save our patients two or more hours in their day for a non-medical emergency patient visit,” Crosland said. “Our team safely rules out the need for a face-to-face visit and can easily adjust the appointment to meet the patients’ needs. This is not only a huge satisfier for our patients but also for our team of providers participating so they can efficiently but effectively take care of their patients without the patient having to drive, park and then wait in a waiting room to be seen.”
Blanchfield leadership continues to seek ways to better support patients’ needs by offering various appointment types such as in person, telephonically, and now virtually. Blanchfield’s team recently expanded weekday appointments from 4 to 7 p.m. The implementation of the Extended Hours Clinic at the Screaming Eagle Medical Home in Building One, next to Tennova hospital, is available to enrolled retirees and family members, regardless of which Patient Centered Medical Home they are enrolled.
Audio Appointments are a convenient service, which allows patients to speak to a provider by phone, rather than face-to-face with their healthcare provider. Audio Appointments are offered Monday through Wednesday and Fridays for non-urgent medical concerns for individuals ages 2 to 65 who do not have pre-existing compromised health conditions. In addition, the Gold Army Medical Home, located within the hospital, offers early appointments for its enrolled population beginning at 6 a.m.
Patients may continue to schedule appointments through the hospital’s Appointment Line for all appointment types traditional, virtual, audio-telephonic, or extended hours at 270-798-4677 or 931-431-4677 from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“We continue to seek ways to increase our availability to the population we serve,” Crosland said. “It is important that we look at our population’s needs and determine what fits them best and mold our services to support them.”