Barb Goldsby says having access to Mercy medical professionals remotely is like having a doctor next door.
That’s a good thing for Goldsby, who has had three brain aneurisms and suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and acute swelling. She has trouble leaving her home in Fort Smith, Arkansas, to see a doctor but, in most cases, no longer needs to.
Instead, for the past year she’s been participating in a free program offered through Mercy Virtual. vEngagement provides care to patients with chronic medical conditions in their home through a secure internet connection, a tablet computer and wireless monitoring equipment.
Through the program, the Mercy Virtual team can let the patient know if something looks wrong by monitoring a variety of vital signs. The patient also can hit a button and let Mercy Virtual co-workers know if he or she doesn’t feel well.
Mercy began vEngagement in 2015. As of March 2019, there have been more than 2,700 patients who’ve had a combined 155,000 appointments. The vEngagement care team is made up of physicians, advanced practitioners, nurses, navigators and specialty care providers that include mental wellness professionals, dietitians, physical therapists, social workers and chaplains.
Results have been impressive:
- 50 percent reduction in emergency department visits and hospitalizations.
- 98 percent of patients in the program are extremely satisfied or satisfied.
Mercy vEngagement isn’t for every patient. It’s targeted to those with multiple chronic conditions who are frequently in and out of the emergency room and hospital. The Mercy Virtual team works with primary care providers to identify patients, like Goldsby, who may benefit from the program.
Watch a TV news story on Goldsby during one of her vEngagement appointments: