St. Louis, Mo.-based Mercy, which operates 32 hospitals across four states, has teamed up with the Andover, Mass.-based Philips Healthcare to expand Mercy’s use of telemedicine technology to include medical and surgical hospital units.
Mercy is currently managing 430 intensive care unit (ICU) beds with the Philips eICU program and multiple emergency departments with the Philips telestroke program. As patient acuity in hospitals continues to increase, care of patients on medical and surgical units represents an area of substantial unmet need and consumption of healthcare resources. By 2017, Mercy is planning to provide Philips’ acute care program to 1,500 acute care beds not only within the Mercy healthcare system, but across the U.S., officials say.
The sixth largest Catholic healthcare system in the U.S., Mercy operates 32 hospitals and 300 outpatient facilities across Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, as well as outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Mercy’s acute care program is designed to complement its home care technology provided by Philips, all of which will be components of the Mercy virtual care center. The center will be staffed by hundreds of healthcare providers linked electronically to Mercy and other partner hospitals, via telehealth technology.
Mercy says it expects to launch the Philips-enabled acute care program by April 2014. In addition to bi-directional audio and video access in patient rooms, the program will include several key features that address:
- Readmissions reduction – Recorded discharge instructions, uploaded into a patient engagement portal to reinforce self-care and adherence to therapies at home
- Increased patient safety – Automated monitoring of vital signs with remote triggers around early warning signs, to avoid complications, including cardio-pulmonary arrest
- Increased patient satisfaction – Video visitation, enabling patients to easily interact with family members and friends
- Clinical best practices – Including early detection of sepsis, pressure ulcer management and fall prevention
“We have never been more convinced of the power of telehealth to improve patient access and outcomes and reduce costs,” Lynn Britton, Mercy’s president and CEO, said in a statement “Adding acute care telehealth services is a natural extension of our successful eICU and telestroke programs, and will allow us to support our mission to provide quality care to patients in need, regardless of location.”