The Children’s Wisconsin trach/vent team implemented virtual appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic and achieved impressive results despite not being able to see patients in-person, according to Lisa Jentsch, vice president of patient care and service lines for the health system.
Every year, approximately 100 kids at Children’s Wisconsin have a tracheostomy tube placed. The ultimate goal is to reduce the time kids need to use a trach and successfully transition them off, a process called decannulation.
When the trach/vent team moved to virtual appointments, doctors monitored parameters remotely and also reviewed historical trends to see how patients were responding to changes over time. During appointments, providers assessed patients on camera, reviewed their data and made adjustments in real time. Patients were still able to meet with all of their normal specialists, with providers from respiratory, pulmonology, ENT and speech therapy swapping out throughout the virtual appointment.
The trach/vent team estimates they were able to decannulate patients at least two to three months faster utilizing virtual appointments. While the team has moved back to in-person visits, virtual appointments continue to be part of their care model.