Using Technology to Streamline Health Care

Read about how the local medical community in southwest Missouri uses advances in technology to connect patients with specialists.

by Jo Jolliff

Jul 2024

Advances in technology have impacted the way local health care facilities operate in diagnosing and connecting patients. One of the latest developments has been through the hospitals’ virtual care.

CoxHealth Chief Nursing Information Officer Summer Blackerby says their virtual nursing program started their pilot in June of 2022 and instantly saw positive outcomes.

“Our focus was enabling a better workflow for our clinicians, a workflow that allows them to have more direct time with patients by leveraging the technology to enable that,” Blackerby says. “We wanted to support our staff in that manner and instantly saw some pretty big wins right out of the gate.”

CoxHealth’s onsite virtual care center allows nurses to come into the patients hospital room virtually on a screen and interact with patients who have consented via video. In addition, they are able to continuously monitor vital signs, lab work and different trends occurring with each individual patient. “The power of the AI in our virtual care is its ability to synthesize that information at a faster rate and serve that information to our virtual nurses and command center to point them to patients that may need attention quicker,” she says. “It’s transforming how we deliver care.”

Mercy is seeing similar results in their patient care since leveraging their virtual care programs. Chief Medical Officer for Mercy Springfield Communities Dr. Sadaf Sohrab says Mercy has been advancing in their utilization of their various virtual care programs for many years, which allowed them to effectively perform virtual visits during the COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s the same quality care but it was a much safer option when we were dealing with COVID,” she says. “We are continuing to leverage virtual visits because of how much we’ve seen it help patients. COVID only accelerated our program even further.”

With Mercy’s virtual care program patients are able to virtually receive care from physicians in their own environment. “It’s been a huge satisfier for our patients, especially those who have multiple doctor visits, sometimes in a week, to minimize the amount of time they’re having to travel,” Dr. Sohrab says. “For physicians it’s great because rather than a patient not showing up due to transportation issues or logistics, they’re now able to quickly do a virtual visit.”