Coronavirus: Mayo Clinic launches advanced care at home in July
The Mayo Clinic will begin providing an advanced "Care at Home" program next month in which hospitalized patients can be discharged days early to continue treatment and recovery on a virtual basis at their homes — with some high-tech help.
In partnership with Medically Home of Boston, a technology enabled services company, Mayo's providers will be able to care for patients who don't need more invasive surgery or other procedures that require anesthesia, but still need more convalescence.
The patients will be monitored at home through a tech platform that includes a tablet, Wi-Fi phone and instruments that measure vital signs in real time. They will get an immediate response from a nurse when they hit one button, and the nurse will either handle a patient's issue, or pass it along to a doctor.
COMPLETE COVERAGE |Coronavirus in Florida
Patients also will have access to a Lifecall system for emergencies. All of their data is routed through an encrypted system that has a backup 36-hour power supply in case of an outage.
The first patients to opt in for the voluntary program will be sent home on July 6. The goal by the end of the month is to have 10 patients under the program, working with an initial team of six dedicated nurses, four dedicated physicians and three nurse practitioners.
The eventual goal is to have 30 patients per day being treated at home.
Mayo's Eau Claire, Wis., unit will come on line in August.
The program also will open more rooms, beds and other resources to COVID-19 patients — although Michael J. Maniaci, a Mayo Internist who is the physician lead in Florida for the program, said it's been in the planning stages long before the coronavirus pandemic.
"We started working on this about year ago," he said. "It's always been part of Mayo's 2030 strategic plan to expand the care of people in their homes. COVID-19 validated the need for the model and accelerated it."
Maniaci said that most Mayo providers would eventually be trained in the program, and it could cover patients from nearly every department. Initially, it will begin with general medical patients.
"The physicians and nurses become a virtual staff," Maniaci said. "With the push of a button the patient will get instant care from the command center. It also helps the providers. I can see a lot more patients per day."
The virtual home care will include infusions, skilled nursing, medications, lab and imaging services, behavioral health and rehabilitation services.
Maniaci said if necessary, providers would be sent to a patient's home should procedures or care that can be done without anesthesia be required.
Amy Williams, executive dean for practice at the Mayo Clinic, said the program combines technology of the future with old-fashioned care.
"The medical practice of the future will infuse technology and innovation with a human touch that continually enhances patient care, convenience, affordability and provides better answers, faster," she said. "Advanced care at home offers the capability to meet patients' needs in new ways."
Medically Home built the software program. The company has developed intellectual property, technology platforms and acute rapid-response clinical services to allow providers to shift advanced medical care from hospitals to patients' homes.
Coronavirus: The latest
BLOG | What you need to know today
This content is being provided for free as a public service to our readers during the coronavirus outbreak. For the latest news on the coronavirus, subscribe to our free newsletter and download our app. Please support local journalism by subscribing to the Times-Union/jacksonville.com.