Health City Accepting All Emergencies and Offering Telemedicine in Phased Reopening
CAYMAN ISLANDS (April 8, 2020) – Harnessing the power of the internet to deliver medical care in this time of social distancing, Health City Cayman Islands is now offering virtual specialist consultations via telemedicine as part of the hospital’s outpatient services, in addition to accepting all local emergency cases. The expanded services bring the hospital to the second phase of its reopening amidst the Cayman Islands’ COVID-19 public health crisis.
The new telemedicine service, which has been commonplace for the tertiary care hospital’s international patients since its inception in 2014, is now being offered to local patients during a time when the Cayman Islands are under a strict “shelter in place” order otherwise known as a “soft curfew” imposed by the Cayman Islands Government.
Clinical Director Dr. Binoy Chattuparambil noted that the hospital is keen to support the government’s efforts to have people stay at home as much as possible, while also delivering the specialized tertiary medical care that the hospital has become known for.
“We are open now for all emergencies, including walk-ins, after initially reopening on March 27 for emergency and critical care referrals only. We are very are glad to be back to handling emergency cases and fulfilling our mission of saving lives and offering critical care and life support to the Islands’ patients in the direst need of care. As the Cayman Islands’ sole tertiary medical care facility, this is a vital component of our hospital operations in order to support the local health care system. However, we understand that all of our patients need medical attention – even as the Islands and the world adjusts to the new reality that COVID-19 has placed us in. Providing virtual consultation via telemedicine allows us to provide ongoing medical care to our existing patients, without forcing them to leave their homes.”
A telemedicine trial of the virtual consultations began on April 1, and involved providing ongoing care to existing patients in a limited number of medical specialties. With the trial being successful, Health City has moved forward to offering virtual consultations in the full range of the hospital’s medical specialties and is providing the service to both new and existing patients.
Director of Business Development Shomari Scott advised that Heath City would continue to seek innovative ways to serve the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said, “We are living in a new COVID-19 world and need to adjust to our altered reality. The truth is, we do not know when this crisis will be over. However, regardless of whatever else is going on in the world, people don’t stop getting sick or needing medical attention. We are here for our patients as always and now it’s time to embrace the virtual technology that has been touted for many years as the future of medicine. COVID-19 has fast forwarded the acceptance of these practices and we are pleased to be able to offer this service moving forward.”
Virtual consultations will be provided via telephone call or WhatsApp video call from Monday to Friday between the hours of 9am to 1pm, however exceptions are made based on the need and urgency of the patient. To schedule an appointment, patients can either email [email protected] or call the hospital on 640-4040. An insurance approval process has been developed for the telemedicine consultations, and all insurance approvals will be secured by Health City staff.
This new development is the second phase of the hospital’s reopening process. The first phase began on Friday, March 27 with the reinstatement of emergency and critical care referrals.
To further suppress the spread of COVID-19, one wing of the hospital has been physically segregated and assigned exclusively only for the isolation of suspected or COVID-19 positive patients. Another wing of the hospital will be used only for newly admitted emergency patients. The newly admitted emergency patients will not have any contact with the existing patients of the hospital or the staff taking care of them. The staff taking care of the new emergency admissions are also physically segregated from those staff members taking care of the existing patients.
In addition to the virtual consultations and acceptance of emergency referral patients, the Outpatient Pharmacy continues to operate at Health City in order to facilitate prescription refills and renewals. Patients seeking refills and renewals of existing prescriptions may email [email protected] for assistance.