By Nadeen Makhlouf

NYC went on pause as of March 22nd and social distancing has been implemented as one of the major measures to help curb the COVID-19 pandemic.  In order to continue essential healthcare services, providers across all specialties are providing telehealth services.

Staten Island PPS has been offering its behavioral health partners E-recovery; an evidence-based technology and content to support addiction management. The goal of utilizing the app is to reduce relapse, support long-term recovery, and help patients stay connected. The app helps the patient and their healthcare provider stay connected through messaging, group chats, appointment reminders, and daily surveys.

App utilization during March and April has seen almost 2,000 text messages sent by patients across three sites. In addition, close to 1,000 surveys have been answered by patients utilizing the app. The continuity of activity helps a vulnerable population stay connected at the touch of their fingertips during a time where isolation may have detrimental impacts that could lead to relapse and other behavioral health triggers.

The experience amidst the COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the benefits of utilizing the app, with one patient stating that it has helped her stay connected during a time where she needed it most yet could not make it to appointments. Providers have expressed that the app has created a sense of “community” among patients and healthcare staff.