Mayo Clinic Health System and Mayo One expanding remote health to COVID-19 patients

Mayo's remote health program is helping patients monitor COVID-19 symptoms at home
Remote Health Care

LA CROSSE, Wis, (WKBT) – An overnight stay in a hospital can be a scary experience. Mayo Clinic Health System is using a program that’s been around since 2016 so patients with COVID-19 can manage the virus at home.

Most of us don’t enjoy pulling into a hospital parking lot. We want to go in and get out a fast as possible with little worry.

In the midst of a pandemic, produced by a mysterious virus, that’s not always possible for everyone. More than 200,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.

Mayo Clinic Health System is trying to help those, who test positive and are discharged from the hospital, manage their symptoms from the comfort of home.

“I’ve been around since it was implemented in kind of the end phase of 2016, beginning of 2017,” Gina Von Ruden, primary care nurse manager at Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse.

Von Ruden has seen Mayo’s remote care program or (remote patient monitoring RPM) in action. It was founded by the midwest’s Mayo Clinic Health System and has expanded throughout the entire Mayo network. It was used for people with complicated long-term illnesses.

“Such as congestive heart failure, asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), diabetes, and was used as a focus tool to help improve their chronic condition management,” Von Ruden said.

Mayo Clinic Oncologist Dr. Tufia Haddad said Mayo is using their program to watch COVID-19 patients.

“Our care teams, our clinicians are able to care for patients at a distance,” Haddad said.

Gundersen Health System also uses this technology for patients with pacemakers.

“We have the patients download once every three months,” said Jo Lenarz, a registered nurse at Mayo Clinic Health System. “We review rhythm, we look for any rhythm disturbances that they have. We look at the amount of pacing they may be using.”

The program, whether it’s used for COVID-19 or not, helps keep people out of the hospital, and others out of harm’s way.

“That allowed us to minimize their exposure to other clinicians, to other patients on our premises,” Haddad said. “It also allowed us to hopefully minimize use of PPE (personal protective equipment).”

This virus doesn’t discriminate, just ask Dr. Deepi Goyal of Mayo Clinic who works with the remote program. He just recovered from the virus.

He and his daughter tested positive and received remote care. The emotional impact was his number one take away.

“It gave us this tremendous sense of comfort to know that there was someone watching our symptoms, our vital signs, and knowing when to escalate care,” Goyal said.

Patient outcomes are being studied.

“Overall the progress has been very positive,” Von Ruden said.

Experts believe this is the future of medicine in a socially distanced society. Officials at Mayo say there is work being done to expand remote care to children with COVID-19.