The “Reimagining Health Care – Telehealth Training Course” will start in January, as a pandemic surge and widespread unemployment are on the minds of many.
From a medical perspective, the COVID-19 pandemic brought into stark focus the dire need for efficient telehealth offerings, and its economic impact resulted in countless Americans seeking unemployment benefits.
As the country faces a spike in cases which threatens to overwhelm emergency departments, and unemployed Americans grapple with relief funding running dry, Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health stand ready to help.
Starting in early January, the University’s National Center for Telehealth Education and Research (NCTER) will offer a “Reimagining Health Care – Telehealth Training Course” free of charge to interested participants who are currently unemployed.
The online course provides telehealth content expertise and facilitation competencies to efficiently deliver telehealth and connect patients with providers. It will also teach participants the skills necessary to successfully facilitate, evaluate and advocate for telehealth.
As part of the Jefferson College of Health Professions (JCHP), the NCTER offering is designed to create interest among participants to pursue a new career in telehealth as the demand for trained facilitators grows exponentially.
“This is why we built the Center. You cannot change health care unless you train the workforce of the future,” says Dr. Judd Hollander, associate dean of strategic health initiatives at Sidney Kimmel Medical College.
One positive to emerge from the pandemic can be seen in how clinicians and patients learned that virtual care works. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that telehealth needs markedly increased across the country during the pandemic.
Accompanying that is the reality that a growing workforce needs to be trained to make telehealth more efficient. What this course does is link those who are currently unemployed with an opportunity to learn a new skillset which, in turn, offers real value to hospitals when we emerge from the pandemic.
Jefferson is arming the workforce with the skills and knowledge necessary to better care for patients in these ever-changing times. –Dr. Shruti Chandra
Along with Dr. Michael Dryer—dean of the JCHP—Dr. Hollander notes that Jefferson Health had a head start preparing for the shift toward telehealth at the pandemic’s onset. However, both agree that this free offering could help bolster the ranks of trained professionals, while abating the financial straits that many find themselves in due to COVID’s lingering economic impact.
They liken it to an “Introduction to Telehealth Support 101” course, noting that it “won’t make you a doctor,” but it can get participants firmly established on a path toward a new, in-demand career.
“At Jefferson, we are now moving from re-imagining health care of the future to actually re-creating it. This course is a first step for people who want to take that journey with us,” says Dr. Hollander, of the course led by Dr. Shruti Chandra.
Dr. Chandra sees firsthand the need for an expanded telehealth workforce, and notes that participants in the course—for which interested parties can register via this link—will earn a certificate of completion.
“Telehealth is here to stay,” she says. “Jefferson is arming the workforce with the skills and knowledge necessary to better care for patients in these ever-changing times.”