Mount Sinai and The New York Public Library team up to expand access to telehealth

Steven Loeb · March 17, 2023 · Short URL:

The intiative will include classes on using MyChart, as well as a Chromebook borrowing program

Now that the COVID threat has dissipated, fewer people are using telehealth, which most people likely suspected would happen. It has far from gone away completely, though: a report from the CDC showed 37% of adults had used telemedicine in 2021.

That is, in part, because telehealth is a good way to provide equitable care to people who normally might have trouble accessing it, either due to where they live, a disability that makes it hard to go to a doctor, or the lack of access to transportation. Those still using it in large numbers include women, American Indians, and older people.

As such, a number of large health systems are still investing in the technology, the latest being Mount Sinai Health System, whose Digital and Technology Partners (DTP) department announced a collaboration with The New York Public Library (NYPL) this week.

The goal of the partnership is to expand equitable health care throughout New York City by providing access to health services through telehealth and digital literacy skills.

As part of the collaboration, the Library’s TechConnect department will hold two-hour classes called “Take Charge with MyChart.” These session, which are free, will be available online, as well as in person at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library in midtown Manhattan, the Bronx Library Center in the Bronx, and Richmondtown Library, and St. George Library Center on Staten Island. 

The class will include information on how to find a new doctor, how to access existing medical records or test results, and how to schedule or attend a virtual doctor’s appointment. Participants will also be taught how to refill prescriptions online using MyMountSinai, which is Mount Sinai’s version of MyChart; participants will not have to already have a MyChart account to attend.

In addition, because attendees may not have access to their own devices, the Library is offering a Chromebook borrowing program, so patients check out devices and use telehealth resources.

“Over the past few years, it’s become clear that our commitment to our patients cannot stop at the doors of our buildings,” Bruce Darrow, MD, PhD, Senior Vice President, Information Technology, and Deputy Chief Information Officer of the Mount Sinai Health System, said in a statement.

“This program helps to address a digital divide in our community and we are grateful to NYPL and the New York City Office of Technology and Innovation for partnering with us on this important initiative.”

Mount Sinai Health System has more than 43,000 employees working across eight hospitals, more than 400 outpatient practices, more than 300 labs, a school of nursing, and a school of medicine and graduate education.

Other health systems that have also recently invested in telehealth include Temple Health, which announced a partnership with medical technology and automation solutions provider Masimo. 

The two companies outlined a series of initiatives they want to collaborate on, including deploying technologies, therapies, devices, and systems designed to advance patient-centered care, as well as raising awareness of the importance of health equity, which it plans to to "by leveraging their expertise and regional influence to positively impact access to quality care for all Philadelphia residents."

Novant Health, a network of hospitals, physician clinics and outpatient facilities in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, recently unveiled an expanded partnership with the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina, which includes establishing physical and telehealth clinic locations.

Those telehealth portals, which will be placed in more rural locations, will be powered by TytoCare and will allow patients to connect to a Novant Health clinician who can virtually examine their heart, lungs, skin, ears, throat, and abdomen.

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