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ChristianaCare service gives employers workplace confidence

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CareVio’s Endia Jackson, medical assistant, and Dr. Janine Jordan virtually connect with patients to provide care. | PHOTO COURTESY OF CHRISTIANACARE

CHRISTIANA – When the COVID-19 virus began to spread rapidly in the United States and more suspected cases were showing up at hospitals, Sharon Anderson knew that her program, CareVio, was going to be repurposed.

Anderson is the chief virtual health officer at ChristianaCare and president of CareVio, a population health management program owned by the health care system that monitors chronic disease patients at home using audio, video, secure texting, and biometric devices. The 5-year-old program has helped 110,000 patients with diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), heart failure, behavioral health disorders, and more, manage their conditions.

As dozens of patients began to show up at Delaware hospitals with COVID-19, however, the program was refocused to help employers track their workforces for signs of the virus. CareVio’s platform was used to provide daily monitoring of employees for COVID-19 symptoms, testing as needed, and care for employees who test positive.

Employees are required to answer a text message questionnaire regarding any potential COVID-19 symptoms every morning before arriving to the office. If they answer yes to any question, they are connected to a dedicated CareVio nurse who assesses the patient. If necessary, they are directed to seek a COVID-19 test or see a doctor.

That follow-through is what sets the service apart from other symptom-monitoring programs, Anderson said. If a case is determined to be positive, a patient will receive inquiries from CareVio several times a day checking their status.

“CareVio continues to monitor you through that course of your illness,” she added. “We know COVID is not like other viruses, where you are sick and then you tend to get better. Sometimes you’re not so sick and you get really worse seven or eight days out.”

Meanwhile, the employer receives a daily report on whether their employees were cleared for work or not – no other health information is shared with an employer. As a front-line health care system, ChristianaCare was its own guinea pig in the expansion, Anderson said.

“We started with ourselves. We have more than 10,000 employees who have to make sure they can come to work,” she said.

As it grew internally in the spring, ChristianaCare began receiving more calls from other employers about the program come summer. They ended up launching a paid service for employers that to date has signed 26 companies covering thousands of employees working in 14 states. All of that growth came largely from of word-of-mouth, starting with about a dozen employers in June.

One of the first to begin using the service was EDiS Company, a construction management company headquartered in Wilmington, that has about 80 employees managing hundreds of tradespeople over dozens of sites.

Brian DiSabatino, CEO of EDiS, told Delaware Business Times earlier this year that his company was committed to the CareVio program because he wanted employees to feel supported amid the unprecedented pandemic.

“We want to make sure everybody’s got the confidence that the person in the office or cubicle next to them is feeling well,” he said.

Pam Reuther, chief operating officer for Easterseals Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore, said that her nonprofit organization that serves those with disabilities started using CareVio in mid-July. With all of its programming shut down for the first five months of the pandemic, Easterseals leaders sought to find ways to safely reopen facilities for employees and clients, who are more at risk of dangerous complications from the virus.

To oversee about 320 employees across six sites in Delaware and Maryland was “daunting,” Reuther said until they learned about CareVio.

“It’s been very successful for us in day-to-day operations of managing any potential risk,” she said, noting that employees have also commented that Easterseals’ efforts, including heightened cleaning and the CareVio service, makes them feel their employer is “going above and beyond” to protect them and the clients.

By Jacob Owens

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