A four-story, 125,000-square-foot building in Chesterfield, Missouri houses the world’s first Virtual Care Center. Described as a ‘hospital without beds’, 330 employees will work in the facility without any beds.
“It’s like a hospital without beds,” said Dr. Randy Moore, president of Mercy Virtual.
“We have the medical team here, but with technology like highly-sensitive cameras and real-time vital signs, our providers can ‘see’ patients where they are. That may be in one of Mercy’s traditional hospitals, a physician office or in some cases, the patient’s home,” Moore said.
Mercy is the seventh largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves millions annually.
Doctors, nurses and other staff can monitor ER’s, ICU’s and hospital beds assisting the local staff of other facilities on a 24/7 basis. Many smaller ER’s and facilities don’t have top specialists like neurologists on-site. This provides expertise to provide higher quality care.
A team of doctors are dedicated to seeing patients within the hospital around-the-clock using this virtual care technology. They can order needed tests or read results, resulting in quicker care.
In addition, they will provide continuous monitoring for hundreds of chronically ill patients in their homes after hospitalization.
This is an expansion of virtual Long Term Care services that are helping those in their homes avoid nursing facilities. These latest innovations in long-term care may bring a computer tablet in every home where a person is needing help. As America ages and more people require Long Term Health Care services, these type of virtual services will help with quality, cost and help relieve some of the burden on family members.
Virtual Long Term Care services can vary significantly, and almost all programs can be used in combination with a home health aide or other home care.
The expansion of virtual care in all areas of health care will give health consumers many more choices.
“We’re testing the concept that a virtual visit every day in the homes of those patients will keep them healthier and out of the hospital,” Dr. Moore said.
“Rather than having a lot of different doctors for each of those patients’ conditions, they have one doctor who’s monitoring everything. The people and technology in place here make that possible,” Moore explained.
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