A Holistic Approach to Improving Rural Health Outcomes According to HealthCare.gov, the essential health benefits under the Affordable Care Act that qualifying users can expect include doctors’ services, inpatient and outpatient hospital care, prescription drug coverage, pregnancy and childbirth, and mental health services at the very minimum. But what happens to all of the individuals and families who live outside of that definition and are typically left out of the traditional system of health care? Today, we want to highlight an initiative that has come together to support rural agricultural workers by providing them with access to internet services, at-home health devices, and more. This initiative is called ACTIVATE and Bitwise Industries was tasked to quickly deploy their Contact Center-as-a-Service team (CCaaS) to support this health equity movement in rural areas of the Central Valley of California. Who Is ACTIVATE? Accountability, Coordination and Telehealth in the Valley to Achieve Transformation and Equity (ACTIVATE) is a public-private pilot initiative to support rural, low-income agricultural workers by providing access to internet and telehealth services. Their mission is to improve the health and well-being of rural, agricultural communities by empowering community health centers and health care providers to support patients through telehealth technology. ACTIVATE launched in California’s Central Valley under a partnership with Livingston Community Health, a clinic that serves mostly Latinx communities with primary and preventative health care services regardless of their ability to pay. ACTIVATE’s long-term goal is focused on demonstrating an effective, cost-efficient program for reaching vulnerable populations with essential telehealth services that can be scaled and adopted to improve health systems in communities statewide and nationally. Getting the Word Out The ACTIVATE initiative deploys a range of digital platforms, hardware, and medical devices which require technical support for users. Those clients in the Central Valley communities require sophisticated communication and engagement tools to address a range of language, capacity, and accessibility needs. To provide access to the tools needed to improve the health outcomes of people living in remote rural areas, they had to be reached first. Bitwise Industries CCaaS support is perfectly geared to enable organizations–in any industry–to manage their client interactions through every channel of communication—voice, web, chat, SMS, or video. This omnichannel interaction provided a critical lifeline that bridged the gap to these life-saving resources. During the initial launch, Bitwise designed, developed, and managed the ACTIVATE Ambassador Center to provide initial contact and technical support to ensure thorough community reach and engagement. This multi-tiered approach included four specific functions that the first five Ambassadors would be responsible to facilitate: Hardware Train clients for use of provided blood pressure and blood sugar monitors Software Train clients on login and usage of medical portal software Program Navigation Ambassador fluency on program details, goals, and outcomes Health Care Provider Platforms Orient and train clients on provider portals The Bitwise Ambassadors, including Spanish-English bilingual speakers, were able to provide this comprehensive technology solution for the omnichannel communication used in the program and onboard the Phase 1 group of 50 ACTIVATE community clients. The Lasting Impact The ACTIVATE team will continue to evaluate this pilot program to see how the goals are met in technology implementation, outreach, adoption, and utilization; successful use of community health workers to reach patients; and improved health behavior and health care outcomes. This work will include a roadmap for post-pandemic sustainability of health system reforms that incorporate telehealth to demonstrate its power to serve rural and vulnerable communities, and encourage telehealth solutions as a cost-effective means of enhancing community-based health systems. Additionally, the team will continue to nurture a partnership with UC Merced to recruit undergraduate and community college students to provide opportunities to participate in the program for education, research, and training opportunities that focus on the unique aspects of rural health, health care delivery, and health systems. The basic technology architecture of the approach Bitwise Industries is taking is intended to scale efficiently as ACTIVATE expands market penetration and adds surrounding communities. The current workflow includes flexible Ambassador Centers that will be brought online in cohorts of five to meet the needs of increased activity. The technology solution delivered to launch the program will scale seamlessly as additional clients and communities are added in California and throughout the U.S. This feels like a way to start turning the tide on issues people have been concerned with for many years, including lack of access to health care, vulnerable populations, and health disparities. This [ACTIVATE] is one of the bright spots that emerges from the pandemic.– Deborah Wiebe, HSRI Director Let Us Help Bitwise Industries specializes in custom software development, Contact Center-as-a-Service, and Salesforce implementation and administration. Our technology professionals have deep experience applying cutting-edge technology solutions to help business entities of all sizes navigate the technology landscape to find solutions to optimize their operations. If you’re interested in uncovering the tech possibilities available to your organization, click this link to schedule some time with one of our experts. This post was written by Jeff Rickels, Technical Writer for Bitwise Industries. When he’s not writing, he’s thinking about any opportunity to listen to music, step out into the sunlight, and simply close his eyes to pause and enjoy that moment. Did you love this blog? Subscribe here for new Bitwise blog notifications.