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Axios' Caitlin Owens and Eugene Woods, president and CEO of Atrium Health.

Atrium Health President and CEO Eugene Woods said at an Axios virtual event Tuesday that the company's "virtual hospital" system helped treat 13,000 coronavirus patients from their homes.

Why it matters: Woods believes that the telemedicine approach could outlive the pandemic and be a core part of "how we deliver care differently in the future."

The big picture: Throughout the pandemic, patients were asked to call ahead or use telemedicine for non-emergency treatments. Many hospitals, doctors and even elected officials now see virtual care as a default for most Americans.

  • Atrium cared for both patients who had mild symptoms and who needed critical care.
  • Doctors and nurses monitored vital signs daily, virtually checked in on patients and, if needed, would send a physician to their home.

By the numbers: Woods said that of the 13,000 COVID-19 patents Atrium's virtual hospital treated, only 3% needed to be transferred or admitted to an actual hospital.

What he's saying: "When we realized the significance of this pandemic, and the magnitude of it, we realized we didn’t have enough hospital capacity," Woods said, noting that this triggered plans for virtual care.

  • The virtual hospital can provide hassle-free check-ups for young people and senior citizens who prefer care from their home, Woods argued.
  • "If you think about rural America, people that live in rural America tend to be older, tend to have more chronic conditions, tend to have less access to care. So I think what we're seeing, because of our system Atrium, we provide care in urban and rural areas — we’re taking care of everyone."

Go deeper

Fauci: Working with Trump administration has "been very stressful"

Anthony Fauci. Photo: GRAEME JENNINGS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a Wednesday interview that working alongside the Trump administration to combat the coronavirus in the U.S. has been "very stressful."

Why it matters: Although Fauci, who considers himself apolitical, is among the most trusted voices in the country on the coronavirus, he has faced attacks from Trump loyalists and the president himself, who recently called him a "disaster."

Nov 11, 2020 - Health

America's reopening is at risk

Ambulances line up at the entrance of the emergency room to drop off patients in Murray, Utah. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

It feels like early March again across America, where curfews are coming back and a slate of football games have been canceled or postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nov 11, 2020 - Health

EU purchases 200 million doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The European Union struck a deal with Pfizer and BioNTech to buy at least 200 million doses of their coronavirus vaccine in the largest initial order to date, the companies announced Wednesday.

Driving the news: Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced Monday that its coronavirus vaccine trial was effective in preventing COVID-19 infections in 90% of previously uninfected people and did not produce any serious safety concerns.

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