Innovation in telemedicine is a top priority for healthcare providers around the world, and you need look no further than the heartland of America to find Mercy – the sixth largest Catholic health system in the U.S. – leading the way in transforming patient care through telehealth. The St. Louis-based network of hospitals and health facilities spanning four states is reinventing models for fast and efficient medical diagnosis and delivery. Mercy SafeWatch, the largest single-hub TeleICU in the country, enables specialists to continually monitor critical patient data across 15 hospitals and interact via video communication with on-site medical teams and patients, virtually expanding each patient’s care team. Mercy doctors and administrators believe that their latest healthcare technology has the potential to change the face of patient care in the U.S. and beyond.
Vidyo’s visual communications technology is integrated into Mercy’s central TeleICU command center in St. Louis, which also supports other critical care telemedicine services at Mercy such as telestroke, telecardiology and teleperinatal. With the integration of Vidyo and Philips® eCare Manager, SafeWatch is able to provide around-the-clock vigilance of critically ill patients. Over 450 Philips TelelCU monitored beds have been equipped with Vidyo so that Mercy’s critical care doctors and nurses can watch over and communicate with ICU patients, their families and bedside healthcare staff via Vidyo from a central command center. According to Wendy Deibert, vice president of Telehealth Services at Mercy, the health system expects to expand the use of Vidyo to even more beds and applications. “With Vidyo we are able to do many things a bedside physician can do, except physically touch a patient. We can see the entire room, from the drips to the ventilator panel, to how the patient looks. We can talk to the family, patient or nurses in the room.”
“One of the biggest problems healthcare facilities are facing across the U.S., is that there isn’t adequate access to healthcare,” said Thomas Hale, executive medical director of and Telehealth Services at Mercy. “With Vidyo, we are now capable of reaching those who need us the most, when they need us, wherever they are. Vidyo gives us the required high level of visual acuity, regardless of what kind of device you are communicating with and what level of bandwidth is available.”
“Telemedicine is playing a bigger and bigger role in the care of patients the world over, and the innovation of new technologies and models of healthcare is central to the future of medicine,” said Dr. Dale Alverson, medical director, Center for Telehealth and Cybermedicine Research, University of New Mexico. “Technology should not only be about making things easier, but also about making things possible. Mercy’s SafeWatch demonstrates just how effective a healthcare system can be when you have great technology and tools to work with. Vidyo has been very responsive to the needs of the healthcare industry. They see what’s necessary for us to move into the future and they provide exceptional solutions to get us there.”
“The Mercy program is a testament to what can be accomplished when you put great technology into the hands of people with vision and a passion to improve the status quo,” said Ofer Shapiro, Vidyo’s CEO and co-founder. “By using Vidyo, Mercy is revolutionizing healthcare and making programs such as SafeWatch possible with scalable, cost-effective, visual communication that leverages the public Internet and existing general purpose IP networks. Healthcare practitioners are now able to rely on secure, encrypted remote doctor-patient and doctor-doctor interactions that are as close to face-to-face consultations as you can get.”
The VidyoWorks™ platform allows healthcare providers to deploy high definition (HD), low latency Vidyo for healthcare anywhere an examination or consultation needs to take place, from within medical facilities and patient homes, clinics, other hospitals or physician home offices. It is a complete, end-to-end solution with a variety of endpoint options, including VidyoRoom™ systems for conferences or auditorium events, desktop endpoints for doctors’ offices, simple-click, touch screen options for patients at home, and customized endpoints for medical cart and bedside use in hospital emergency rooms, operating rooms or clinics. Vidyo offers natural, multipoint HD video communications that can be accessed from virtually any device and room size over basic Internet or wireless networks. Vidyo delivers HIPAA compliant encryption for its endpoints and is able to integrate with third party H.323 and SIP-based video conferencing systems. It easily integrates with established healthcare environments, supporting a variety of medical devices and interoperating with existing conferencing infrastructure.
Mercy is the sixth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 33 acute care hospitals, four heart hospitals, two children’s hospitals, two rehab hospitals and one orthopedic hospital, nearly 700 clinic and outpatient facilities, 40,000 co-workers and 2,100 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.