Providing Accessible Health Care With Panasonic TOUGHBOOK Devices
More than 50 years ago, AltaMed Health Services started as a movement to provide Chicanos and Latinos with access to culturally and linguistically competent health care services and has since grown into one of the largest federally qualified health centers (FQHC) in the country. AltaMed serves more than 300,000 patients in underserved communities across Los Angeles and Orange counties through 27 health care centers.
As we worked to serve the community throughout a global health crisis, we uncovered a need for mobile solutions to support our health education and mobile unit teams. Additionally, with an influx of personal protective equipment (PPE) donations coming in, we needed a device that was flexible enough to also support inventory management in our warehouse.
Thanks to a donation from Panasonic of 125 TOUGHBOOK handheld devices, our team can now provide a higher level of care to all patients.
Connecting With Patients via Mobile Devices
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, non-essential health care went remote virtually overnight: telehealth measures that were meant to be rolled out gradually over months were enacted within a matter of days. Certain services also had to be paused until they could be resumed with new safety measures in place. For example, during these early stages, AltaMed had to pull back our mobile health units due to a lack of infrastructure to safely capture patient data.
With the Panasonic TOUGHBOOK donation, AltaMed has been able to efficiently reenter the community. Our health care workers use the Panasonic handheld devices to support vital services including flu shots, primary care and patient surveys. Prior to the donation, our team relied on a manual process, which meant writing materials were shared between people. Now, AltaMed staff can sanitize the handheld devices between uses and enter patient data into our CRM system in real-time.
Accessible Solutions Boost Circle of Influence
Many of AltaMed’s new patients are essential workers who work in grocery stores, factories, and as office assistants who are at a higher risk of being exposed to COVID-19. Unfortunately, many of these workers lost their employer-based health insurance and didn’t know they could access health care services through a community health center like AltaMed. The Panasonic handheld devices allowed our marketing team to reach out to these new patients, working quickly to sign them up for health coverage when our community members needed it most.
Los Angeles is considered one of the hardest to count counties in the nation due to its size and diversity. Using the mobile devices, our civic engagement team was equipped with a tool to help engage more of our
patients and community members in the field during the 2020 Census. The mobile devices allowed our team to meet with underrepresented populations where they feel comfortable to seek information and participate in the census. From generational poverty to unsafe environments, with more data on underrepresented populations, public health outreach can determine the barriers that prevent people from seeking health care.
Over the past six months, we have deployed 125 mobile devices to approximately 200 AltaMed frontline health care workers. While some in-kind donor-recipient relationships can be transactional, Panasonic has been a true partner throughout our deployment. The Panasonic Foundation worked with us to determine which device would best fulfill our needs and develop a plan that would optimize the rollout.
Thanks to Panasonic, we can now provide our staff with the handheld devices they need to best serve our community. As we look into the future, we feel better equipped to meet changing patient needs and support underserved communities with vital health care services and resources.
AUTHOR: Fanny Arroyo Oliveira, Director of Development, AltaMed