Virtual Critical Care: A Lifeline for Rural Hospitals and Patients

Augusta University Health (AU Health) operates two hospitals, a critical care center, and more than 80 outpatient practice sites in 24 counties in Georgia and South Carolina. In 2019, AU Health partnered with Amwell to roll out a grant-funded program to provide telemedicine emergency services at six rural hospitals in Georgia with two major goals in mind: to improve care in rural communities and keep their hospitals financially viable.

In the summer of 2020, the program pivoted to provide critical care consults to patients with COVID-19 or other chronic conditions who could not be transferred to higher levels of care. In the first months of the program, participating rural hospitals reduced their transfers by more than 80%, enabling patients to receive care in their communities with minimal disruption to continuity of care.
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