Launching a Statewide COVID-19 Primary Care Hotline and Telemedicine Service.

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To respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and recover from its aftermath, primary care teams will face waves of overwhelming demand for information and the need to significantly transform care delivery.Oregon Health & Science University’s primary care team envisioned and implemented the COVID-19 Connected Care Center, a statewide telephone “hotline” service.The hotline has taken more than 5825 calls from patients in 33 of Oregon’s 36 counties in less than 3 months. In preliminary survey data, 86% of patients said their questions were answered during the call, 90% would recommend this service, and 70% reported a reduction in stress levels about coronavirus. In qualitative interviews, patients reported their questions answered, short wait times, nurses spent time as needed, and appropriate follow-up was arranged.Academic health centers may have the capacity to leverage their extensive resources to rapidly launch a multiphased pandemic response that meets peoples’ need for information and access to primary care, while minimizing risk of infection and emergency department use and rapidly supporting primary care teams to make the necessary operational changes to do the same in their communities. Such efforts require external funding in a fee-for-service payment model.

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Authors: Anthony Cheng, Heather Angier, Nathalie Huguet, Deborah J Cohen, Kellen Strickland, Emily Barclay, Eric Herman, Craig McDougall, Frances E Biagioli, Kam Pierce, Carliana Straub, Bennett Straub, Jennifer DeVoe