James Hoevelmann of Sullivan, Missouri, used to work in hospital construction. But these days, even though he suffers from severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the retired carpenter, 74, doesn’t want to go anywhere near a medical facility. And he doesn’t need to, even though his COPD has been bad enough in the past to regularly land him in the emergency room and the intensive care unit. The reason: Hoevelmann now gets his care from Mercy Virtual Care Center some 50 miles away in Chesterfield.
Equipped with an iPad and devices such as a blood pressure monitor and scale that stream his vital signs and other data from his home to the Mercy Virtual “command center,” he and his providers have been able to detect subtle health shifts in time to avert the cascade of deterioration that put him in the ICU. “We can trend the data on a daily basis and intervene in many cases even before patients experience symptoms,” says Gavin Helton, Mercy’s medical director. Says Hoevelmann: “I feel safer knowing I have those people behind me.”