Remote monitoring drives value-based care
Mark Twain National Forest, located in the southern half of Missouri, has more than 750 miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. Boasting 350 miles of perennial streams that welcome adventurers in canoes and kayaks, the forest is also where a disabled Vietnam veteran is spending his retirement years in a cozy home with his wife. During his 18-month combat tour, this veteran never saw the inside of a helicopter. But since he started suffering from chronic cardiac issues two years ago, he’s been Medevacked 13 times to Mercy Hospital Washington, which is 100 miles away.
When J. Gavin Helton, MD, medical director of ambulatory medicine at Mercy Virtual Care Center heard about this disabled veteran, he wanted to do what he could to bring the resources of Mercy Virtual Care Center to him.
The center is part of Chesterfield, Missouri-based Mercy—a large health system made up of 45 hospitals across Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Arkansas—and it provides remote monitoring of patients struggling with chronic illnesses such as heart failure, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Today, the Vietnam veteran’s pulse, oxygen, blood pressure, and weight measurements are sent wirelessly to the clinical team at Mercy Virtual via an iPad app, which also facilitates video-based visits between the veteran and the clinical team. Helton says biometric data is collected from this patient at least daily, and the clinical team compares that data to the patient’s baseline numbers.
Having access to all of this information in real time allows the care team at Mercy Virtual to proactively address the patient’s needs before they evolve into an emergency situation, says Helton. In fact, since the veteran came under Mercy Virtual’s care, he hasn’t needed to be rushed to the hospital, says Helton. Instead, he’s remained exactly where he’s decided to spend his retirement—in his house in the forest.