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1.
J Gen Intern Med ; 37(4): 954-957, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1729387

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic, and vaccine hesitancy, pose a significant public health threat. The Veterans Health Administration system is uniquely situated to provide insights into the implementation of a population health approach to vaccine acceptance. AIM: We describe the VA Connecticut Healthcare System's (VACHS) quality improvement project to improve rates of vaccine uptake. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: VACHS consists of eight primary care sites with 80 primary care providers delivering care to 47,000 enrolled veterans. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: Our program involved identification of a local champion, education sessions, development of vaccine acceptance tools (including the templated "COVID-19 Prevention Letter" and the "COVID-19 Prevention Telephone Note"), and application of a population health approach (use of a prioritization scheme and playbook) by primary care patient-aligned care (PACT) medical home teams. PROGRAM EVALUATION: We found increased rates of vaccination at VACT compared to the surrounding region 6 months after implementation (65.16% vs 61.89%). Use of vaccine acceptance tools were associated with a statistically significant increase in vaccination (24.1% vs 13.6%, P = 0.036) in unvaccinated veterans. DISCUSSION: A population health approach to vaccine acceptance using EHR-based tools can impact vaccination rates, and this approach may be of practical utility to other large healthcare systems with EHR.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Population Health , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , Delivery of Health Care , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
2.
Fed Pract ; 38(9): 402-405, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1503681

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a shift from in-person to virtual care to reduce exposure risks to patients and health care workers. This report aims to describe a large primary care system's implementation of virtual respiratory urgent care clinics (VRUCs). METHODS: The VA Connecticut Healthcare System (VACHS) delivers care to more than 58,000 veterans in at 8 primary care sites. VRUCs were established as part of the VACHS primary care rapid transition to virtual care model. Retrospective analysis and qualitative chart reviews were performed from February 2020 through May 2020 to describe characteristics of patients who received care through the VRUCs. RESULTS: VRUCs were used by > 445 patients, 51% received COVID-19 testing, 10% tested positive, 5% were admitted to the hospital, and 18% had ≥ 1 subsequent emergency department visits. Chart documentation rates of discussion of isolation precautions, high occupational risk, and goals of care were 71%, 25%, and 14%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Average wait time for health care provider evaluation was 104 minutes, suggesting VRUCs are an expedient means to provide assessment of COVID-19 symptoms. Use of templated notes may ensure routine counseling about isolation, occupation, and goals of care.

3.
J Int AIDS Soc ; 24 Suppl 6: e25810, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1487489

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is the largest provider of HIV care in the United States. Changes in healthcare delivery became necessary with the COVID-19 pandemic. We compared HIV healthcare delivery during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic to a prior similar calendar period. METHODS: We included 27,674 people with HIV (PWH) enrolled in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study prior to 1 March 2019, with ≥1 healthcare encounter from 1 March 2019 to 29 February 2020 (2019) and/or 1 March 2020 to 28 February 2021 (2020). We counted monthly general medicine/infectious disease (GM/ID) clinic visits and HIV-1 RNA viral load (VL) tests. We determined the percentage with ≥1 clinic visit (in-person vs. telephone/video [virtual]) and ≥1 VL test (detectable vs. suppressed) for 2019 and 2020. Using pharmacy records, we summarized antiretroviral (ARV) medication refill length (<90 vs. ≥90 days) and monthly ARV coverage. RESULTS: Most patients had ≥1 GM/ID visit in 2019 (96%) and 2020 (95%). For 2019, 27% of visits were virtual compared to 64% in 2020. In 2019, 82% had VL measured compared to 74% in 2020. Of those with VL measured, 92% and 91% had suppressed VL in 2019 and 2020. ARV refills for ≥90 days increased from 39% in 2019 to 51% in 2020. ARV coverage was similar for all months of 2019 and 2020 ranging from 76% to 80% except for March 2019 (72%). Women were less likely than men to be on ARVs or to have a VL test in both years. CONCLUSIONS: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the VA increased the use of virtual visits and longer ARV refills, while maintaining a high percentage of patients with suppressed VL among those with VL measured. Despite decreased in-person services during the pandemic, access to ARVs was not disrupted. More follow-up time is needed to determine whether overall health was impacted by the use of differentiated service delivery and to evaluate whether a long-term shift to increased virtual healthcare could be beneficial, particularly for PWH in rural areas or with transportation barriers. Programmes to increase ARV use and VL testing for women are needed.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Veterans , Cohort Studies , Female , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology
4.
PLoS One ; 15(8): e0237127, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-695633

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The global pandemic of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Related Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2) has resulted in unprecedented challenges for healthcare systems. One barrier to widespread testing has been a paucity of traditional respiratory viral swab collection kits relative to the demand. Whether other sample collection kits, such as widely available MRSA nasal swabs can be used to detect SARS-CoV-2 is unknown. METHODS: We compared simultaneous nasal MRSA swabs (COPAN ESwabs ® 480C flocked nasal swab in 1mL of liquid Amies medium) and virals wabs (BD H192(07) flexible mini-tip flocked nasopharyngeal swabs in 3mL Universal Transport Medium) for SARS-CoV-2 PCR testing using Simplexa COVID-19 Direct assay on patients over a 4-day period. When the results were discordant, the viral swab sample was run again on the Cepheid Xpert Xpress ® SARS-CoV-2 assay. RESULTS: Of the 81 included samples, there were 19 positives and 62 negatives in viral media and 18 positives and 63 negative in the MRSA swabs. Amongst all included samples, there was concordance between the COPAN ESwabs ® 480C and the viral swabs in 78 (96.3%). CONCLUSION: We found a high rate of concordance in test results between COPAN ESwabs ® 480C in Amies solution and BD H192(07) nasopharyngeal swabs in in 3 mL of Universal Viral Transport medium viral media. Clinicians and laboratories should feel better informed and assured using COPAN ESwabs ® 480C to help in the diagnosis of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Specimen Handling/methods , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Humans , Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus/isolation & purification , Nasopharynx/microbiology , Nasopharynx/virology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , RNA Stability , RNA, Bacterial/analysis , RNA, Bacterial/metabolism , RNA, Viral/analysis , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2
5.
J Gen Intern Med ; 35(10): 3073-3076, 2020 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-671647

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Traditionally, health care delivery in the USA has been structured around in-person visits. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a shift to virtual care models in order to reduce patient exposure to high-risk environments and to preserve valuable health care resources. This report describes one large primary care system's model for rapid transition to virtual care (RTVC). SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: A RTVC model was implemented at the VA Connecticut Health Care System (VACHS), which delivers care to over 58,000 veterans. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: The RTVC model included immediate virtual care conversion, telework expansion, implementation of virtual respiratory urgent care clinics, and development of standardized note templates. PROGRAM EVALUATION: Outcomes include the rates of primary encounter types, staff teleworking, and utilization of virtual respiratory urgent care clinics. In under 2 weeks, most encounters were transitioned from in-person to virtual care, enabling telework for over half of the medical staff. The majority of virtual visits were telephone encounters, though rates of video visits increased nearly 18-fold. DISCUSSION: The RTVC model demonstrates expeditious and sustained transition to virtual care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our experiences help inform institutions still reliant on traditional in-person visits, and future pandemic response.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Primary Health Care/organization & administration , Telemedicine/organization & administration , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Connecticut/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Program Evaluation , SARS-CoV-2 , Telemedicine/statistics & numerical data , United States/epidemiology , United States Department of Veterans Affairs , Veterans/statistics & numerical data
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