Maryland and Israel may be separated by many miles, but the connection is much closer when it comes to innovative ideas and developing programs that benefit all.
LifeBridge Health is well known as one of the state’s leading health systems with five hospitals (including Sinai Hospital of Baltimore and Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital), more than 1,700 physicians and a range of complementary medical programs to provide care for patients whatever their health care needs. However, this Maryland-based health system is also a leader in healthcare innovation.
One of those innovations is LifeBridge Health’s Israel Contact Center, based in Jerusalem. Launched just a few years ago, the Israeli-based team members provide a strong complement to the teams working here in Maryland. The Contact Center teams take on some of the follow-up support and answering patient questions, allowing the local teams to focus more on direct, hands-on patient care.
The Contact Center employs advanced practice providers (APPs), social workers, nurses and support staff in Israel. All are licensed in Maryland and living in Israel. They are completely up to date on Maryland regulations, including pandemic standards, as well as compliant with the Israeli government pandemic response guidelines.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, much of the focus of the center has shifted to support the virus response in the community. This includes the APPs working with Maryland patients on the results of their COVID-19 tests and answering patient questions. They also provide medical advice for each patient on next steps in conjunction with a team in Maryland. The APPs also monitor the electronic platform GetWell Loop.
The licensed clinical social workers provide crisis evaluation support to the emergency department teams at LifeBridge Health hospitals in Maryland via telemedicine.
Nurses work with patients to schedule their COVID tests and to provide accurate updated information on access to vaccines in Maryland. In addition to the pandemic response actions above, this staff engages with patients after discharge, ensuring their transition to home is safe. They also contact the patients’ Maryland providers to make sure they are aware of the clinical follow-up actions needed. Finally, they provide “ask-a-nurse” style support for some of LifeBridge Health’s clinical practices. There are nine nurses on the Jerusalem team, and they work with as many as 50 patients a day.
There is a phone number that supports questions coming into LifeBridge Health. When patients call that number, they could be talking to a Maryland-based nurse or an Israel-based nurse. The center is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Another shift during the COVID pandemic, the Contact “Center” is actually not a center anymore, with the LifeBridge Health team members in Israel working remotely from home.
The Israel Contact Center is only one example of LifeBridge Health’s innovative initiatives. The health system has an Innovation Department to work with businesses and partners, including healthcare start-ups, to develop solutions that may benefit patients. Recent programs include a business incubator initiative with CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield and a partnership with Live Chair, a program working with local barbers to bring their clients health information and screenings. To learn more about LifeBridge Health, you can go to lifebridgehealth.org.
“LifeBridge Health is an innovative healthcare system always looking for new technologies and techniques to advance patient care. They’re a great partner to work with.” stated Barry Bogage, Executive Director, Maryland/Israel Development Center.
Pictured above is Jonathan Moles, Assistant Vice President at LifeBridge Health-2018