Noblesville-based Aspire Health Inc. has been embracing virtual health checks even before the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. (photo provided)
Dr. Jody Horstman is Chief Integration Officer for Aspire Health Inc. (photo provided)
David Speicher is Chief Technology Officer for Aspire Health Inc. (photo provided)
In a society where social distancing is a new norm, teleconferencing, video chats and remote working are ways of doing business for many industries, including healthcare.
Noblesville-based healthcare provider Aspire Indiana Health has used telemedicine for more than five years and says that experience has allowed it to adjust to the increasing number of virtual appointments.
“We do business in the browser. Which is very different from almost anyone,” says Aspire Chief Technology Officer David Speicher. “Which means at a time like this, it’s really paying dividends.”
Speicher says the 700-person staff uses cloud-based, encrypted technology to communicate both internally and externally, including patients. Even before the healthcare crisis, telemedicine was a growing element of the healthcare group’s delivery model, but within one week’s time, the group made the complete virtual switch.
“Before this whole thing started, we were doing about 1,000 video calls a month, now we have seen a 500% increase in video calls,” says Speicher. “So, during their therapy sessions, they’re seeing their doctor face to face at their home.”
As part of Aspire’s holistic approach to offer primary medical and behavioral health care, the clinicians also consider social determinants of health, like employment and housing, when evaluating patients.
“There is some indication speaking through technology may lead to increased comfort and disclosure on the part of people using it,” says Dr. Jody Horstman, Aspire’s Chief Integration Officer.
The health group serves at-risk Hoosiers as a state-certified Community Mental Health Center for Marion, Boone, Hamilton and Madison counties. During the uncertainty of the pandemic, the group says its healthcare providers are looking for signs of anxiety and depression.
“In general, the people we serve are reporting the same questions and concerns as many others. We are taking steps to maintain and increase contact and services with those who may be at higher risk,” said Horstman.
While Aspire has six outpatient offices in central Indiana, it is now conducting appointments by video conference or phone calls when possible due to the pandemic.
“During these unprecedented times it is important that people continue to have regular contact with their behavioral health providers,” says Dianna Huddleston, director of Aspire’s Comprehensive Services for Boone and Hamilton Counties. “The uncertainty of the times and the potential for disconnection can exacerbate already existing mental health issues. Maintaining treatment is vital during these times.”
Aspire says it has also benefited from a fewer number of patient cancellations among its psychiatric staff.
“We’ve seen no-show rates drop,” says Speicher. “The ability to see someone over video is and quickly is unique. We’re well-positioned for that.”
Horstman says they’re also hosting group therapy sessions via telemedicine, helping support groups to remain connected even while practicing social distancing.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Aspire Health Chief Technology Officer David Speicher says Aspire adopted telemedicine early and effectively.