Mercy’s Virtual COVID Care @ Home Provides Emergency Medicine 24/7
A Level of Monitoring Unique in Virtual Care
JOPLIN, Mo. (May 11, 2021) – Thanks to Mercy’s COVID Care @ Home program, thousands of people with COVID-19 have had 24/7 access to a team of board-certified emergency medicine physicians who keep tabs on each person’s well-being via daily texts, video consults and phone calls. The real-time, up-to-date medical advice for a quickly evolving disease has provided a safety net and kept patients out of the hospital at critical times when COVID-19 surged and hospitals needed all available beds.
“This program may have kept me out of the hospital,” said Sara Stuck, who tested positive for COVID-19 in November. “The daily check-ins helped me recognize a change in my symptoms, which later led to me being diagnosed with COVID-related pneumonia. Without the monitoring program, I would not have contacted my provider until my symptoms got even worse. The treatments I got — and when I got them — kept my condition from declining.”
To take part in the virtual COVID-19 program, patients are enrolled through a Mercy emergency department, convenient care clinic, or primary care provider.
“We were able to monitor Sara in her home while providing medical oversight through the monitoring program,” said Rebecca Moss, nurse practitioner, and Stuck’s primary care provider. “At a time when inpatient care was near capacity, we were able to safely manage Sara on an outpatient basis. The COVID Care @ Home program has allowed us to provide needed oversight and limit COVID hospitalizations.”
While some health systems have a virtual program that includes physician oversight, Mercy has a team of board-certified emergency medicine physicians on call around the clock
Since November, the program has tracked more than 21,000 people who were able to recover from COVID-19 at home and 391 patients across Mercy who were referred for a higher level of care when doctors determined their condition had worsened.
For most, Mercy’s COVID Care @ Home includes daily health checks via text. If the patient isn’t doing well, they can let Mercy know by responding to the daily text and activating an evaluation for another level of care – possibly a phone call, video consultation, or even a visit to a clinic, ER or hospital if their condition worsens.
A patient with a Mercy physician can ask their physician to refer them to the program.
Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems for four consecutive years by IBM Watson Health, serves millions annually. Mercy is one of the nation’s most highly integrated, multi-state health care systems, including more than 40 acute care, managed and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, convenient urgent care locations, imaging centers and pharmacies. Mercy has 900 physician practices and outpatient facilities, more than 4,000 Mercy Clinic physicians and advanced practitioners and 40,000-plus co-workers serving patients and families across Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has clinics, outpatient services and outreach ministries in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. In addition, Mercy’s IT division, Mercy Technology Services, and Mercy Virtual commercially serve providers and patients from coast to coast.