AHA, AVIA launch resource hub to help hospitals quickly roll out virtual health tools

The American Hospital Association (AHA) teamed up with AVIA to develop an online tool to help hospitals quickly roll out virtual capabilities to combat COVID-19.

The AHA Digital Pulse is available to 5,000 members of the AHA and provides a free resource that allows hospitals and health systems to immediately assess critical digital capabilities they will need to meet the challenges of COVID-19 over the weeks and months ahead.

The online tool also links directly to further information about how hospitals can access and implement the technology solutions they need.

It was developed in collaboration with digital health innovation network AVIA. Founded in 2012, AVIA works with more than 50 health systems to collaborate on strategic initiatives and engage in consulting services to increase the speed and efficiency of digital projects.

RELATED: AVIA secures $22M in funding round with investment from Cedars-Sinai, Providence St. Joseph Health

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals and health systems are ramping up telehealth services and chatbots to triage and screen patients. Organizations also are scaling up remote monitoring technology such as wearables and connected devices to monitor patients safely from home.

Hospitals face immediate challenges to stand up a virtual approach for screening, testing, triage, primary care and specialty care for patients. These solutions need to leverage scarce clinician resources and build trust and confidence in doing so, according to the AHA.

“We don’t have in-house experts and large teams to figure all this out, and we all wear so many hats, so we need partners to help us,” said Liz Dean, executive director of strategy and business development at the Riverwood Healthcare Center in Aitkin, Minnesota.

“The COVID-19 Pulse helped us quickly identify virtual health solutions. We gained insights on best practices, resources, and reassurance that we were on the right track. Because we used this tool, we were able to implement virtual solutions very quickly and efficiently," Dean said.

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The online assessment shows hospitals where they have gaps in digital capabilities and offers specific steps that can be taken now to prevent the spread of the virus, allocate resources, care for the sick and protect clinicians.

The Digital Pulse contains a framework of 13 critical capabilities identified by AVIA and its network members including screening and triage, remote workforce and addressing social needs for COVID-19 that can effectively be supported by digital solutions.

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After an assessment, hospitals and health systems receive aggregated data-driven insights into how their organization compares to peers that are also responding to COVID-19. This information will also jump-start new connections across AVIA's network so hospitals and health systems can share emerging best practices and foster real-time learning.

“In this moment of crisis, there is so much noise when health systems need focus and clarity," said Andy Shin, chief operating officer at the AHA Center for Health Innovation.  

The Digital Pulse resource helps hospitals to identify where they can take rapid action on the front lines to best serve their communities, Shin said.