The Mayo Clinic has created a tele-health pilot program that brings hospital care to the home

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The Mayo Clinic has created a three year pilot tele-health program that brings acute hospital care to patients in their homes. Proponents say that the program should help patients recover faster, while reducing costs to hospitals, which in turn could lower healthcare costs overall. We learned more from Dr. Chad Nelson, Division Chair at Mayo’s Hospital of Internal Medicine.

“Tele-health would be any time you have an interaction with a patient either over phone or through a virtual connection with video, remotely with a patient,” Nelson said.

Mayo now has a three year pilot program for acute hospital care at home.

“Now we’re advancing the idea of tele-health, these virtual interactions, to a more acute patient population, so rather than just a clinic visit that you would have, rather than turning that into a virtual visit, we’re actually now taking patients that would otherwise be hospitalized…and we’re taking them to their home, and we’re doing this all virtually in the comfort of the patient’s home,” Nelson said.

He continued that everything that would be done in a hospital setting, with arrangements, would have the same thing in a patient’s home.

This includes nursing for IV therapy, wound care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, phlebotomy for blood draws, paramedics for rapid response needs, radiology for x-rays, etc.

There is also 24 hour nurse care in a command center that check in on patients periodically throughout the day. They’re also available 24/7 overnight as well.

In a hospital setting, just how a nurse would pop into the room to see how everything is going, they would pop into a patients virtual room.

“Right now we are focusing on a traditional medical patient. So, these would be people with heart failure, exacerbations, Pneumonia, we’re starting to get into some COVID patients as well, cellulitis…these are some of the typical diagnoses that we’re focusing on,” Nelson said.

Chad R. Nelson, M.D., Division Chair, Hospital Internal Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Arizona

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