Missouri’s health innovation companies are transforming the health care industry and how it interacts with patients globally. We are the home of the world’s first virtual care center, driven by the real-world expertise of our healthcare industry, and telehealth services are connecting patients in rural communities with healthcare that wasn’t available to them ten years ago.
Branded a “hospital without beds” the Virtual Care Center provides remote support for intensive-care units, emergency rooms, physician’s offices, and even in patients’ homes. The center acts as a hub for Mercy’s wide-range of telemedicine programs including Mercy SafeWatch, the largest single-hub electronic intensive care unit in the U.S., allowing doctors and nurses monitor patients’ vital signs in 30 ICUs across five states.
Since opening the Virtual Care Center Mercy has seen a 35 percent decrease in the length of patients’ stays, and 30 percent fewer deaths than expected. To put it into perspective that is roughly 1,000 people whom statistics indicated would die, but didn’t thanks to the virtual expertise displayed by the Missouri team.
That success can be attributed to the way telemedicine works. For the first time doctors are able to link up with patients via phone, webcam and email, and through new technologies and devices patients can relay symptoms and vital signs to doctors who can then manage chronic conditions right in the home. Additionally doctors have gained the ability to consult with each other remotely to help make life saving decisions that weren’t possible before, especially in rural areas that often times lack the specialists found in large cities.
Karen Edison is the medical director of the Missouri Telehealth Network. She has specialized as a dermatologist for over 20 years and frequently holds teledermatology sessions with her patients.
“I’m taking care of (patients) through video conference so I see their skin,” Edison said. “They send pictures to me ahead of time and I look at all their skin photos and then I go in the room and talk to them over the computer. It’s just like it is in person, it’s just using technology to bridge distance.”
The equipment and technology have become cheaper and more convenient over the years to operate telehealth services. Today, clinics only need to use a laptop or desktop computer to communicate with their patients and conduct sessions.
“When we first started doing telemedicine, the local rural clinics had to have some very expensive video conferencing equipment,” Edison said. “Today, we use our regular computers. You don’t need to have anything special besides … broadband access to make that secure and high quality.”
These innovative new techniques and practices have the potential to change the way the world approaches health care. With the continued growth of technology doctors and patients in developing nations will have access to a global network of highly trained nurses and physicians to aid them in making potentially life saving decisions.
And Missouri health innovation companies are at the center of it all.
For more information on Missouri’s health innovation industry check out our webpage, or contact Steve Johnson, CEO of Missouri Partnership, at 314.725.2688 or via our contact form. He will answer any questions you might have, and explain how Missouri Partnership can help with your business expansion and investment needs.