Talk about the front lines of the COVID-19 Pandemic, and your primary care provider’s office might not be the first place that comes to mind. But that is, in fact, where health officials urged concerned Floridians to turn for proper screening, assessment and guidance on the novel coronavirus.
“And this makes sense,” says Millennium Physician Group Chief Medical Officer Dr. Alejandro Perez-Trepichio. “Who better to assess patients than their primary-care provider, considering their knowledge and understanding of each patient’s individual factors, like medical history, chronic conditions and current medications? I know my patients’ risk factors, and I can tell, in many cases, by looking at them in a holistic way how they are faring.”
The acute-care hospitals saw and treated many severe COVID-19 cases, but it is the role of the primary-care provider to intervene and guide their patients, especially when uncertainty abounds like during a pandemic. That is why Millennium’s 100-plus locations across the state remained open. “Our first duty is to our patients,” adds Dr. Perez-Trepichio.
Health official also recognized the value and importance of lowering the barriers for the medical community to employ telehealth as a tool to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Millennium again responded. “We had been developing our own fully-integrated telehealth approach since last year and had been piloting it with a handful of our physicians,” says Millennium’s Chief Medical Information Officer Dr. David McAtee. “But with the swift arrival of COVID-19, it became imperative that we adopt this technology enterprise-wide, and our 500-plus healthcare providers were up to the challenge.”
In the last weeks of March and during much of the governor-issued “safer-at-home order,” more than half of Millennium’s patient visits were being conducted through its telehealth platform “MPG Connect.” Heading into June, about a third of visits are consistently being done through the platform, with the total number visits conducted through “MPG Connect” topping 50,000.
“What’s exceptional about our telehealth service is that it connects our 450,000 patients with their healthcare provider, which is a departure from many third-party telehealth services whose providers don’t know the patients nor have their medical records on hand,” adds Dr. McAtee. “This allows us to provide meaningful healthcare that truly honors the continuity of the patient’s care.”
Millennium’s Naples-based Dr. John Diaz is taking telehealth one step further by integrating it with a home-monitoring device about the size of a cell phone. “For one patient showing symptoms of COVID-19, I was able to listen to her lungs and monitor her health safely while she stayed home,” says Dr. Diaz. That patient is recovered and grateful for his innovative care.
Types of visits performed through telehealth:
• New-patient visits
• Follow-up visits
• COVID-19 screenings
• Wellness check-ups
“Each and every one of our 3,000 team member mobilized at every level of the organization in response to the threat of COVID-19,” says Dr. Perez-Trepichio. “I think in the end, our relationship with our patients will be even stronger through this team approach.”
About Millennium Physician Group
Millennium Physician Group is the largest comprehensive, independent physician group in Florida with more than 130 locations in 17 Florida counties. With more than 500 healthcare providers, Millennium offers primary care, specialty care, walk-in centers, imaging centers, labs and more. We maintain a strong commitment to high quality care with state-of-the-art technology combined with a friendly family atmosphere. Learn more at www.MillenniumPhysician.com.