AWS Public Sector Blog

Advancing health equity with ET3 programs and AWS

This is a guest post by Juli Stover, chief strategy officer of eVisit.

eVisit is a leading enterprise care delivery platform built for modern health systems and hospitals. In March of 2022, eVisit was selected to receive cloud computing credits from Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a part of the AWS Health Equity Initiative, a $40 million, three-year global commitment supporting organizations that are developing solutions to advance health equity.

eVisit’s role as a participant in the AWS Health Equity Initiative provided me with the opportunity to serve as a panelist at this year’s AWS Summit Washington, DC in May. During the panel session titled Advancing Global Health Equity Through Technology, I presented alongside other AWS health equity program partners to outline our collective efforts to increase access to healthcare services in underserved communities, reduce disparities by addressing social determinants of health (SDoH), and leverage data to promote equitable systems of care.

eVisit uses AWS to make telehealth more accessible and impactful

eVisit’s AWS-supported effort is focused on expanding telehealth services in America’s underserved emergency response settings in participation with Medicare’s Emergency Triage, Treat, and Transport (ET3) programs. In collaboration with a national medical provider group and leading emergency transportation service, ambulance teams use tablet devices preloaded with the eVisit Virtual Care Platform, which runs on the AWS Cloud and uses several AWS services including Biotech Blueprint, AWS CloudFormation, AWS Lambda, and more. These tablets allow emergency medical technicians (EMTs) to facilitate live, on-site, telehealth visits between patients who call 911 and emergency medicine physicians. This new, innovative medical approach has the potential to enhance the delivery of healthcare to underserved patients, while reducing the costs of unnecessary trips to the emergency department (ED) for treatment in cases where other care settings are deemed to be more appropriate.

Health equity initiative embodies healthcare’s Quadruple Aim

eVisit’s involvement in the AWS Health Equity Initiative delivers on every component of healthcare’s Quadruple Aim:

Improving patient experience. Both the AWS Health Equity Initiative and our ET3 efforts are, first and foremost, focused on the patient. ET3’s overarching goal is to improve every patient’s access to quality care when and where they need it. Oftentimes, patients in underserved communities with limited access to transportation have no other option than to call 911, even if their condition isn’t an actual emergency (e.g., X-rays, stitches, etc.). The ET3 program empowers EMTs to provide the most appropriate care for each individual patient, eliminating unnecessary and unwanted trips to the ED. This initiative delivers patient-centered care that improves the overall care experience.

Enhancing the clinical workflow. Our ET3 initiative also aims to improve the clinical experience by allowing EMTs to “practice at the top of their licenses,” a term used to underscore the use of technology to enable clinicians, like EMTs, to practice to the full extent of their education and training. Rather than serving as a transportation provider to the ED, our ET3 virtual care solution allows EMTs to leverage their full training and make appropriate care determinations about a patient at the point of an emergency. The EMT can assess the situation and the patient’s condition and determine if an ED visit is warranted or if an urgent care visit or remote telehealth visit with a physician is more appropriate.

Moreover, these EMTs can make this decision without fear of it impacting their reimbursement, as in the past, taking the patient to the ED was the only way to receive payment. Empowering EMTs in this manner can also reduce patient flow into the ED, allowing ED clinicians to focus on patients with more acute conditions that truly require emergency treatment.

Lowering costs. Appropriate utilization of services results in lower healthcare costs. The ER is the costliest setting in which to deliver care. In fact, data from UnitedHealth Group shows that the average cost of primary care-treatable conditions treated in an ED setting cost $2,032, compared to $193 at an urgent care center and $167 at a physician office. These “avoidable” ED visits add $32 billion in costs to the healthcare system each year. By reducing unnecessary trips to the ED, and the associated hospital admissions and readmissions, the overall cost of care can be dramatically decreased.

Driving better outcomes. eVisit’s ET3 initiative also helps drive system efficiencies that improve patient outcomes and overall population health. For example, by reducing ambulance trips to the ED or to transfer facilities, the program helps make sure that more ambulances are in rotation to serve the patients that need them. Delays in emergency response in rural, underserved communities can often lead to medical complications. Reducing these occurrences has a positive impact on the ultimate patient outcome.

Next-generation healthcare, powered by AWS

While COVID-19 served as a catalyst for telehealth adoption in the US, health equity initiatives and a commitment to value-based care continues to propel the use of the technology, particularly as part of a hybrid care delivery approach.

The AWS Summit enlightened me not only to the contributions virtual care is making to close the health equity gaps, but also how other technology companies are leveraging data, analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and more to enhance health equity, improve patient outcomes, and ultimately, save lives.

The panelists I shared the stage with at the AWS Summit Washington, DC are making exciting advances in healthcare with the use of the cloud. For example, the company Gaggle uses AWS to develop AI-enabled software for school-issued computers that helps school officials and local law enforcement know when a child is searching for or creating dangerous content. Gaggle founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Jeff Patterson shared stories of how the software triggered life-saving responses for children at risk of self-harm.

Watch this recording of all the health equity partner presentations delivered at the AWS Summit in Washington, DC.

Learn more here about how AWS supports healthcare solutions and health equity. Curious about how you can use AWS to help innovate healthcare services? Reach out to the AWS Public Sector Team for more information.

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