Think of hospitals without hospital beds as a hybrid of telecommunications, observation care, and surgery.
Communications technology combined with Medicine (Telemedicine), permits patients to recover from surgery in their individual homes, avoiding the expense of admission to a traditional hospital. Both patient monitoring and routine check-ups can be achieved with an iPad. Discharge instructions, prescription information, and video conferencing with a nurse are all accessible from a patient’s bedroom. As a result, patients heal more comfortably and save on costly hospital bills.
As the world’s first medical facility dedicated to telehealth, Mercy Virtual Care Center in Chesterfield, Missouri (a $54 million, the four-story facility which opened in October of 2015) has no waiting rooms, hospital beds or patients on-site. https://www.mercyvirtual.net/
It does have over 300 medical professionals who provide remote care for patients, using cameras and internet-driven telecommunications to monitor the chronically ill in their homes. Staffers place video calls to patients using two-way cameras and monitor vital signs through pulse oximeters plugged into iPads. In an article from U.S. News & World Report titled, “Are Virtual Care Clinics the Wave of the Future,” Mercy Virtual and its team of “virtual hospitalists” are showcased as a model of telemedicine for the future.
According to the American Telemedicine Association, implementing telemedicine technologies reduces waiting room stress for the patient, as well as eliminating travel time. Accessibility, improved quality of care, and cost-effectiveness are significant benefits of telehealth. From nosebleeds to critical care, the virtual patient-centric approach to improving and maintain population health is an exciting strategy for successful health maintenance today.
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