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Providence, the largest health care provider in Washington state, an early epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, acted quickly to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and scale its response. It set up 13,000 doctors and nurses on telemedicine — a massive increase from just a few hundred prior to the pandemic. And it increased its efforts to monitor COVID-19 patients in their homes, using a secure text messaging system and a six-question screening tool. Instead of assigning one nurse to monitor 20-25 people, it built an algorithm that would ultimately allow a nursing team to track 9,000 patients over five months.
“Covid is ... putting a lot of strain on hospitals,” said Dr. Todd Czartoski, Providence’s chief medical technology officer. “My hope is that, coming out of this, we will have changed the mindset of a lot of our providers. This crisis accelerated the transition faster than we could ever expect.”