An inside look at a national, bilingual telemedicine service

Photo: Felix Kunze

Galileo is a recently launched telehealth service that delivers 24/7 primary and multi-specialty care in both English and Spanish. It aims to set itself apart with its fully bilingual service offerings.

Dr. Jason Chirichigno is Galileo’s clinical systems leader. His goal is to help remove language as a barrier for access to healthcare for the 53 million U.S. Spanish speakers.

Galileo operates across all 50 states. Regional and national health plans, employers, and Fortune 500 organizations use Galileo to help improve population health.

Healthcare IT News sat down with Chirichigno to get an inside look at how a national telemedicine platform works, and why bilingual service is so important to the company.

Q. Please describe how you deliver virtual healthcare. Including how you deliver primary and multi-specialty care, and how you work with payers and employers.

A. At Galileo, our aim is to improve the quality and affordability of healthcare for all. We are a modern, data-driven medical group offering high-touch, multi-specialty, longitudinal care to diverse and complex patients – on the phone, in the home and in communities across all 50 states.

Galileo’s digital care offering is designed for diverse populations who want immediate access to expert, affordable care. We provide primary, multi-specialty, urgent, behavioral and complex chronic care through an easy-to-use digital platform.

Galileo’s clinicians work as a team, reviewing cases and adding expertise, which allows us to deliver faster, more accurate diagnoses and treatment plans.

Specifically, Galileo virtually manages up to 90% of medical conditions without the need for an in-person referral. More than 50% of Galileo’s care is for chronic conditions such as diabetes, depression and hypertension. Employees using Galileo avoid more expensive visits to in-person specialty, urgent or ER care 80% of the time. More than 85% of patients report improved health after receiving care from Galileo.

Galileo first launched with in-home care for Medicare and Medicaid patients, creating a framework to include social determinants of health in clinical analysis and to bridge gaps in healthcare education.

From there, we established partnerships with both regional and national health plans to offer virtual-first care to their members.

We currently power UnitedHealthcare’s Virtual-First ACA Exchange plan in multiple states with more coming in 2023. We offer a comprehensive and culturally inclusive specialty care team.

We provide virtual-first care for all of MVP Health Care’s members in New York and Vermont, including Medicaid and Medicare as well as ACA members, amongst others. Our partnership with MVP gave Medicaid members 24/7 access to a primary care physician for the first time ever, as they were previously regulated to in-person PCP visits.

Several Fortune 500 companies also trust Galileo as their virtual primary care solution for employees. Through these employer partnerships, we have been able to reduce total cost of care and decrease the number of emergency room and urgent care visits.

Q. A big selling point for Galileo is that your practice is bilingual – English and Spanish. What made you choose to go this direction and place so much emphasis on it?

A. Galileo’s Spanish-language offering stems from our commitment to provide equitable healthcare to all. The traditional care model leaves many populations behind – particularly those from underserved communities. By removing language and access barriers to quality, multi-specialty providers, we can close that gap and build toward a more equitable, reliable and affordable healthcare system.

There are 53 million Spanish speakers in the U.S., which is projected to become the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world by 2050, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Access to equitable care in Spanish is imperative to improve U.S. health outcomes and tackle health inequities. By creating and delivering the fully bilingual healthcare platform offering 24/7 care in both English and Spanish, we are removing a key barrier to care.

It’s also important to meet people where they are, which is why in addition to virtual care services, Galileo offers bilingual and bicultural home and community-based care. We have trained clinicians who understand the cultural nuances when providing care to Spanish-speaking communities.

Q. How does the translation of languages work in the workflow of your delivery of care?

A. Because the Galileo app is fully available both in English and in Spanish, no translation is needed. To access Galileo’s 24/7 on-demand digital care platform, patients simply use the app in Spanish. In doing so, they are automatically connected with a fully bilingual provider who speaks in Spanish.

Forty-four percent of our clinicians are bilingual to support patient needs, eliminating many of the obstacles clinicians often encounter as the only Spanish speaker in a practice. This translates into a seamless experience, as someone using the Spanish version of the app would receive all follow-ups and correspondence in their preferred language.

In addition, Galileo’s dedicated Spanish-speaking clinicians and platform are available nationwide via text, video or phone, day or night, to address patient needs with no appointment necessary.

By giving people the ability to reach a Spanish-speaking clinician within minutes, we can deliver faster and more accurate diagnosis and treatment, resulting in lower care costs and better outcomes.

Q. Please give me an example from your actual experience of how bilingual telehealth really came to be very important to a case.

A. I’d like to share an anecdote from one of our bilingual virtual clinicians, Anthony Guglielmo, MSN, NP-C.

“We recently took care of a lovely elderly patient from Peru,” Guglielmo recalled. “She had recently moved to the U.S. to live with her family. She set up an account in English and her family was doing their best to translate for her, but it was clear that they were having trouble fully expressing themselves, and important information was getting lost in translation.

“The English-speaking provider that was handling the case asked me to reach out to her, and I was more than happy to do so,” he continued. “I first helped her switch her Galileo account into Spanish. This made interacting directly with her much easier, as questionnaires automatically are sent in Spanish.

“The patient was incredibly grateful to be able to communicate in her native tongue, and we were able to quickly and efficiently resolve her health concerns,” he concluded. “It gave me a great deal of personal satisfaction to be able to help this Spanish-speaking patient, and this is something that we pride ourselves on at Galileo – offering seamless, culturally sensitive care.”

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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