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Remote Monitoring Keeps Patients with Chronic Conditions out of the Hospital

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Remote Monitoring Keeps Patients with Chronic Conditions out of the Hospital

PR Newswire

NEOSHO, Mo., July 19, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- After several hospitalizations for breathing problems over two years, Dolorse Murray agreed last September to try a home-based health management program her primary care physician believed would improve her health.

Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems in 2018, 2017 and 2016 by IBM Watson Health, serves millions annually. Mercy includes more than 40 acute care and specialty (heart, children's, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, 800 physician practices and outpatient facilities, 44,000 co-workers and 2,100 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. (PRNewsfoto/Mercy)

Murray, 71, of Neosho, Missouri, has chronic heart and lung conditions that make breathing difficult and sometimes lead to swelling in her legs and feet. Through the program, called vEngagement, a Mercy Virtual care team monitors Murray and makes suggestions about changes at home to better manage her symptoms.

After just a few months in the program, Murray said she feels better and is able to breathe easier. She has returned to her favorite hobbies, like gardening and painting, which she was too sick to do last year.

"This is the most wonderful program, and I tell a lot of people about it," said Murray. "I feel like it's saved my life."

A free program offered through Mercy Virtual, vEngagement provides care to patients with chronic illnesses through a secure home internet connection, tablet computer and wireless monitoring equipment.

Using Mercy-provided devices, patients can monitor weight, pulse rate, oxygen levels and blood pressure. Readings alert Mercy Virtual team members in St. Louis to changes so they can reach out to see what's happening. They might adjust a patient's medications or make simple suggestions, like drinking more water or resting.

Mercy Virtual piloted vEngagement in Washington, Missouri, beginning in September 2015. The program is now available at Mercy hospitals and clinics in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

Results of the vEngagement program have been impressive among nearly 1,000 patients:

  • 50 percent reduction in hospital readmissions
  • 50 percent reduction in emergency department visits and hospitalizations
  • 98 percent of patients who are extremely satisfied or satisfied

Murray meets by phone with her care team several times per month to discuss how she is feeling and determine any changes to her treatment plan. She can also hit a button to let Mercy Virtual co-workers know she doesn't feel well.

Murray's primary care provider in Neosho, Dr. Amanda Lewton, receives frequent updates.

"Managing chronic conditions is challenging," said Lewton. "The vEngagement program keeps a closer medical eye on patients in their homes and has proven life changing for several of my patients, including Dolorse Murray."

To learn more about vEngagement, visit mercyvirtual.net/vEngagement.

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SOURCE Mercy

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