Healthcare // Clinical Information Systems
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10/12/2010
06:58 PM
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Remote Monitoring Boosts Chronic Illness Care

TIBCO technology helps Missouri hospital system track patients' medical conditions in real time, in and out of the hospital.




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Remote monitoring services are enabling Sisters of Mercy Health System clinicians to offer care to chronically ill home-based patients sooner, as well as track the conditions of seriously ill or injured hospital patients located miles away.

Sisters of Mercy Health System, based in St. Louis, is the ninth largest Catholic healthcare system in the United States, operating 26 hospitals, as well as outpatient centers, clinics, and other care facilities in seven states.

About three years ago, Sisters of Mercy began rolling out a remote monitoring system based on technology provided by TIBCO. To date, Sisters of Mercy is providing real-time, remote monitoring services to patients in nine of its largest hospitals, plus two non-Mercy hospitals.

Mercy is also using the remote monitoring capabilities afforded by TIBCO to help identify early signs of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and congestive heart failure (CHF) among home-based and soon-to-be-discharged hospital patients who are in danger of developing either of the two incurable, chronic, and potentially life-threatening conditions.

The monitoring allows physicians and other clinicians -- at the hospital, in their offices, or elsewhere -- to remotely track the condition of intensive care unit and emergency department patients at nine Mercy hospitals, as well as patients in two-non Mercy hospitals located in rural communities where there are shortages of key healthcare professionals, such as critical care workers.

In tracking of patients for COPD and CHF, data from Mercy hospitals and ambulatory care facilities is remotely monitored.

Eventually, all 26 Mercy hospitals are expected to be part of the remote monitoring, and the architecture has the potential to offer remote monitoring services to many more non-Mercy hospitals, said John Conroy, Sisters of Mercy executive director of application development.

"Our architecture allows us to bring up the non-Mercy hospitals as a software-as-a-service," he said. The services being offered can assist in tracking the condition of patients, including those in healthcare facilities facing a shortage of clinical expertise, such as critical care specialists, and also hospitals lacking an integrated electronic medical record, which makes it harder for clinicians to quickly assess key patient information.

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