CORONAVIRUS

UnityPoint Health system creates virtual waiting room in light of coronavirus

Health system partnered with tech company WELL Health

UnityPoint St. Luke's Hospital is seen in Cedar Rapids on Friday, March 27, 2020.  (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
UnityPoint St. Luke's Hospital is seen in Cedar Rapids on Friday, March 27, 2020. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

UnityPoint Health has partnered with a national patient communication platform to launch a texting platform in an effort to reduce person-to-person contact in its clinics and cut back on the risk of coronavirus spread.

The Rapid Release Program, created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, is a health care patient communication platform now used by the health system’s primary care clinics across eight regions, including Cedar Rapids and Waterloo.

The program creates a virtual waiting room, keeping patients in their vehicles until the clinic’s staff is ready for them to enter the facility — supporting physical distancing and reducing exposure of COVID-19 among patients and staff.

Patients notify the office when they arrive by responding to an automated appointment reminder. They then receive instructions via text on when and how to enter the building.

The Rapid Release Program was developed by WELL Health, a California-based technology company that develops communication platforms for health care systems across the nation.

“Using WELL will enhance our response to the significant increase in patient communication,” Lauren Hardison, UnityPoint Health executive director of strategy and business development, said in a statement. “It also will offer (UnityPoint Health) the ability to disseminate the latest information and education to its patient population during a community crisis.”

The health system will evaluate the technology as implementation rolls out to understand “where it can improve the overall patient experience and automate workflows,” officials said in the statement.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

UnityPoint Health continues to encourage all patients to call ahead before visiting a clinic. Individuals who are unsure of where to go for care can call (800) 424-3528 or visit unitypoint.org/coronavirus-where-to-go-for-care.

Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

Support our coverage

Our most important Coronavirus coverage is free to the public.

If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, please subscribe. Your subscription will support news resources to cover the impact of the pandemic on our local communities.

Support our coverage

Our most important Coronavirus coverage is free to the public.

If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, please subscribe. Your subscription will support news resources to cover the impact of the pandemic on our local communities.