Collaboration across companies leads to powerful telehealth enhancements
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a crisis but also an awakening to the discrepancies in our healthcare systems. This global disaster pushed education, health care, transportation, and society’s patience past their limits. Pyxera Global saw this society-altering situation as a unique opportunity to combine resources with other corporate and nonprofit leaders to develop breakthrough solutions that face several challenges simultaneously. The Reimagine Series’ first challenge addressed the accessibility of telehealth within community health systems.
As the pandemic raged, telehealth expanded from 0.1% of primary care visits to more than 40%. Community health centers—specifically the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) and the Iowa Primary Care Association (Iowa PCA)—faced many challenges in adapting. These include strained resources, lack of suitable technology, and patient internet access. These challenges put the care of 30 million Americans, including many in vulnerable and underserved communities, at risk.
Recognizing that diverse perspectives generate the best solutions to systemic challenges, the reimagined approach combined a coalition of corporate partners to enhance telehealth services for all communities. Employees from Medtronic Foundation, SAP, Becton Dickinson, and Celanese competed as part of multi-company virtual teams over one month to present the best solution. Teams collaborated to research, strategize, and put together deliverables to show the diverse and creative solutions they came up with to their assigned nonprofit client. From a smartphone app to a multi-step business plan, teams provided detailed pitches to help tackle the telehealth crisis.
We benefited a ton from having plans, ideas, innovation, and things we could try from a perspective that is much broader than the pandemic. The teams did in one month something that would take us a year to do. It was really an amazing experience for advancing our work.Sarah Dixon, Senior Director of Partnerships and Development at Iowa PCA
About a year later, a follow-up with NACHC and Iowa PCA revealed important insights and enhancements:
- Iowa PCA is now integrating telehealth into its systems. This move will make access to quality care easier for healthcare providers and patients in vulnerable communities.
- Iowa PCA highlighted the crucial telehealth challenge of understanding the needs and preferences of both providers and patients—and bringing their voices to leadership.
- There was a notable increase in staff confidence in implementing telehealth.
- NACHC felt the challenge provided a welcome chance to focus on bolstering its internal systems.
- Both partners felt the exposure to a corporate perspective to be catalytic. NACHC is excited about the possibilities of harnessing additional pro bono engagements in the future, while Iowa PCA is considering how to grow corporate funding for revenue diversification.
Pyxera Global produced a full Challenge Report covering this project, which includes more information about our partners, our challenge participants, the project’s timeline, and its immediate impact.
For a look at this project from a partner’s perspective, check out SAP’s feature article, “Is Telehealth the Solution? Reimagining Community Health Systems.”