Ushering In a New Era of Telehealth-Based HIV Services
- Telehealth: A Lifeline to Treatment and Support for People with HIV in Kentucky
- LivWell Community Health Services: Maintaining vital connections to HIV providers through telehealth during COVID-19
- Matthew 25 AIDS Services: A Hybrid Telehealth Model That Allows for a “One-Stop Shop”
- Ushering In a New Era of Telehealth-Based HIV Services
For leaders and staff at both LivWell and Matthew 25 AIDS Services, using telehealth to connect with their patients has helped them re-examine the most effective ways to engage with the people they serve. Though both organizations launched telehealth programs to ensure continuity of care during the pandemic, they have realized that the benefits of their programs signal that telehealth will be here to stay. These benefits enable visits for people with transportation barriers; better engage with patients who previously faced challenges accessing HIV services; reduce stigma; and generally meet people where they are.
The experience of the last year, says LivWell’s Lynch, also underscored telehealth’s role in forging important connections between new patients and clinic staff.
“When things shut down, instead of new patients having to wait to walk in the door, nurses could see them via telehealth… Telehealth helped us establish relationships with patients who came to us at a really bad time. We had a few people say that our support gave them hope.”
– Ashley Lynch
Medical Office Manager, LivWell Community Health Services
“When things shut down, instead of new patients having to wait to walk in the door, nurses could see them via telehealth,” Lynch says. “These were people who didn’t know us, but we were able to reach out and show them that we’re here and that we would do everything we could to assess and meet their needs. Telehealth helped us establish relationships with patients who came to us at a really bad time. We had a few people say that our support gave them hope.”
While some existing patients have chosen to see their providers in-person as COVID-19 restrictions lift, others have fully embraced using telehealth from a location where they feel comfortable.
For Burton and her team at Matthew 25 AIDS Services, the success of the telehealth program at the Bowling Green location has opened doors and created new possibilities for both staff and patients—and they are looking to expand telehealth for other Matthew 25 locations.
“We won’t go back,” Burton says. “All medical services at Bowling Green will use telehealth moving forward.”
Disclaimer: These stories do not represent endorsements by CDC of any organization or company mentioned.