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With the vision of becoming a national leader in health care by 2020, Spectrum Health seeks to improve care delivery by connecting patients with providers whenever and wherever they need care. To achieve this patient-centric vision, Spectrum Health needed to deliver specialty care — historically only available at its flagship hospital — to local communities in need.

To help improve care delivery, Spectrum Health turned to telehealth and formed a program called MedNow, which was comprised of two separate initiatives — direct-to-consumer and specialty care. The specialty care initiative, called Specialty MedNow, was focused on connecting specialists with patients at distant clinical sites for consults and treatments.

To ensure the long-term success, Spectrum Health followed these three critical steps to incorporate the right team structure and technology, and then determine how best to engage providers for a strong launch and sustainable expansion.

Telehealth team structure

The right telehealth team structure was critical to build and scale the Specialty MedNow program:

  • Team Leads
  • Clinical Specialists
  • Data Analysts
  • Telehealth Educators

Selecting a technology partner

Spectrum Health sought a reliable telemedicine partner that could offer a solution that was easy to use, could be used in rural locations, and had a long lifespan.

“Making the decision to go with American Well was one of the major contributing factors to our success.”
– Joe Brennan, Senior Director of MedNow, Spectrum Health

Engaging providers and scaling for success

From the beginning, Spectrum Health’s telehealth team presented Specialty MedNow to the entire medical group to keep them informed and develop interested. By engaging any group that showed promise, Spectrum Health quickly scaled use cases and built a telehealth program with depth and breadth.

The MedNow team went by the philosophy of “crawl, walk, run” when implementing Specialty MedNow into service lines. They set out reasonable goals, established quick wins, and measured success in small chunks to gain momentum.

90+ use cases with meaningful impact

Since launching Specialty MedNow in 2015, Spectrum Health has conducted more than 25,000 remote consults across more than 90 use cases. By strategically embedding telehealth into the physicians’ day-to-day practice and making it part of the way they deliver care, the health system grew monthly remote consults from 90 to more than 1,000 in three years.

Three Specialty MedNow programs that delivered meaningful results:

  • Infectious disease: To date, the program has helped to avoid more than 300 transfers.
  • Wound care: After only one year, admissions were reduced by 76 percent.
  • Sleep study clinic: Wait times for consults from 4.5 months to 2.5 weeks.

To date, MedNow has calculated the total cost savings for Priority Health, its insurance arm, to be more than $5 million.

Click here to download the complete case study to learn how a data-driven approach has allowed Spectrum Health to easily analyze and understand cost savings associated with any Specialty MedNow program.