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Mercy Health Opens Virtual Care Center Dedicated to Telehealth

October 5, 2015
by Heather Landi
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St. Louis, Mo.-based Mercy Health is scheduled to open this week a new $54 million Virtual Care Center to serve as a hub for 75 telemedicine services and an electronic intensive care unit (eICU).

Mercy Health provides care at 33 hospitals across Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas. The four-story, 125,000-square-foot Mercy Virtual Care Center located in Chesterfield, Mo. will be staffed with 300 medical professionals providing virtual care to patients in Mercy facilities as well as non-Mercy health care facilities.

The Virtual Care Center, which is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year, includes a SafeWatch eICU and a variety of telemedicine programs such as eAcute, eNICU, ePharmacy, home monitoring, nurse-on-call, teleconsultations, telepathology, telepediatric cardiology, teleperinatal, teleradiology, telesepsis and telestroke. The medical staff us highly sensitive two-way cameras, online-enabled instruments sand real-time vital signs, according to Mercy Health.

The health system launched its first telehealth program, a virtual intensive care unit, almost a decade ago. Now housed in the Virtual Care Center, the SafeWatch eICU is the largest single-hub eICU in the nation, according to Mercy Health. In this eICU, Mercy medical professionals monitor more than 450 beds using in-room, two-way audio, video and computer connections. Service is provided in 30 ICUs in a five-state region.

According to the health system, since 2009, ICUs using Mercy’s SafeWatch program have reported mortality rates 25 percent below Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) predictions. And, ICUs using Mercy’s SafeWatch program have seen a 20 percent reduction in length of stay.

Mercy Virtual Care Center provides continuous monitoring for more than 3,800 patients and the Center has virtual hospitalists to see patients using virtual care technology.

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