Virtual Health Care Aims to Cut Costs


(KSDK) Missouri’s Mercy Virtual Care Center has created a new program that focuses on patients whose care often costs the most.

The objective is to keep patients out of the doctor’s office, out of the hospital and healthy at home.

Jim Hoevelmann, 74, is getting the kind of health care he never dreamed possible.

“In the beginning I was very skeptical,” says Hoevelmann. “Like what are they going to do for me?”

Hoevelmann, who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, lives outside Sullivan, Missouri. It’s more than 70 miles from the nurses and physicians at Mercy’s Virtual Care Center in Chesterfield.

He’s part of a program where patients communicate using an i-pad, removing barriers to care, like location and transportation. Dr. Gavin Helton is the Medical Director of Ambulatory Care at Mercy Virtual. He heads up the program.

“His disease burden is such that it’s difficult for him to get out of the home, so we bring the care to him,” says Dr. Helton.

Each day, patients like Hoevelmann, check their vital signs and answer questions about how they’re feeling.

“24-7 I can call that number and I’ve got somebody helping me, to either change my medication or get me to the hospital, or whatever they decide to do,” says Hoevelmann.

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