For 25 years, Patriot Pediatrics has provided top-notch, compassionate and comprehensive care to infants, children, adolescents and young adults seven days a week, 365 days a year. This past year was no exception. The Bedford/Lexington area community-based practice—part of MassGeneral Hospital for Children—has provided the best care for patients daily, while also launching a new electronic medical record system and adapting to the changing style of health care delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The arrival of COVID-19 led to the need for more accessible virtual support. Patriot Pediatrics was one of Mass General Brigham’s practices to go live with its launch of Epic with “at the virtual elbow” support. Typically, dozens of in-person Epic support technicians work closely with staff in the weeks after a launch of the electronic medical record, however, personnel instead guided Patriot Pediatrics clinicians and staff virtually via Zoom when they implemented the practice’s system in the fall of 2020.

“By all accounts it was a successful go-live, despite some who feared that a Zoom experience could never be as good as in-person ‘at the anatomic elbow’ support,” says Mitchell Feldman, MD, FAAP, co-founder of Patriot Pediatrics. “With a go-live, you have an entire office of people using a system that is completely new to them, and support is vital for us to learn the system and continue to seamlessly provide patient care."

Feldman described some of the advantages of the virtual support to be the ability for the support personnel to see the entire user’s screen simultaneously with the user, and the opportunity to be in a patient’s room virtually and unobtrusively assist the user, with a mute feature available to address privacy concerns.

Feldman helped found Patriot Pediatrics 25 years ago with Francine Hennessey, MD, FAAP, to help meet the health care needs of the communities in which they live. Throughout the years the practice has grown to meet changing health care needs—from adding a certified lactation consultant to the staff, to expanding their integrated behavioral health services, to launching Epic and adapting to COVID-19—and has served as a model for other practices. The newly adopted Epic virtual support program will now be the new model for future Mass General Brigham Epic launches.

“As the only Mass General Brigham-network-affiliated pediatric practice in the area, we are grateful to care for the children of many MGB employees and others,” says Feldman. “And, we are ready and eager to serve even more families.”