Doximity’s easy implementation facilitates physician adoption

Nov 23, 2021 | Doximity Dialer

Let there be healing: Sentara Healthcare swiftly integrates telehealth 

In the early days of the pandemic, Sentara Healthcare’s director of telehealth & digital solutions Tyler Okoren was more than a little anxious as he navigated the complexities of shifting the large majority of Sentara Medical Group providers from in-office care to scheduled virtual visits. After utilizing an existing telehealth platform for several months it was clear there was a need for enhanced capabilities to meet the growing demand for virtual care. With little time for a complex implementation roll out, lengthy education processes or complicated technology adoption, the need to move quickly and without error was key. The solution? Doximity Dialer, which enables clinicians to voice and video call patients without requiring the patient to login or download software.


Uncertainty amid crisis not an option

Sentara has 12 hospitals and 230 practices in Virginia and North Carolina. Because its clinical, IT and operations staff were already over-extended with other responsibilities, Sentara could not consider anything that would have a lengthy rollout, require reinventing workflows, or necessitate time-consuming training. Adding pressure to the challenge was the unknown about how long the CMS Public Health Emergency provisions for telehealth services reimbursement would last. 


An environment of telehealth acceptance

Sentara’s longstanding commitment to telemedicine and digital advancement paved the way for Okoren and his team’s success. Not only was it among the early health systems to build out a virtual care platform for its patients, the Sentara team launched the country’s first remote monitoring and management program for ICU patients in 2000, which has been heavily utilized during the pandemic. Its commitment to digital advancement in healthcare was recognized in October 2021 by CHIME (College of Healthcare Information Management Executives), which awarded Sentara with Digital Health Most Wired recognition as a certified level 8 for both acute and ambulatory categories. 

“We needed something that could be installed and integrated easily and was quickly scalable across 230 practices,” says Okoren. “Dialer enabled us to quickly pivot to virtual visits as 85% of our volume transitioned to virtual care.”


Seamless and speedy IT integration 

Before choosing Doximity Dialer, Sentara’s telehealth team looked at several options. Several of its 1300 practitioners who were already using the Doximity app for patient and colleague communication lobbied for Okoren’s team to choose Dialer, which they praised for its reliability and ease of use. Sentara’s IT team was also enthusiastic. Not only was it easy for practitioners and patients to use, but it could quickly integrate and coexist with Sentara’s legacy telehealth process without replacing its native communication option. A third benefit? It had the scalability to support the health system’s operations. “The Doximity rollout was incredibly easy and our IT department appreciated how easy it was to integrate into our providers workflows with minimal IT effort,” said Okoren. “What’s truly amazing is that any health system can roll out Dialer in about a week, not just those that already use the Doximity app,” said Aaron Kornetzke, Doximity Dialers VP of Strategy. 


Converting no-shows to appointments immediately

With the average community hospital losing $3 million each year because of patient no-shows, with thousands of instances of deferred or lack of care, the benefits of physicians effectively reaching their patients in real-time has obvious benefits. Mark Haggerty, DO and Sentara’s Telehealth and Digital Solutions medical director, calls it the Doximity Quick Conversion. “If a patient was scheduled to see me today at 1:00 p.m. for a video visit but at 1:01p.m., they have not connected or arrived, I immediately open my Doximity Dialer, import the patient's cell phone number and send them a link,” explains Dr. Haggerty. “I wait no more than a few seconds before pushing a call through Dialer so that I can walk my patient through opening their text and joining that link.” It’s scenarios like this which have enabled Sentara to reduce its patient no-show rate for virtual visits by 49%, as compared to in-person visits. It’s a win-win-win all around, for patients, for providers and for hospital systems