Mercy Program Offers Virtual Checkups for Patients with Cancer

Oklahoma City — The setting is about as comfortable as possible for Kurtis Kennedy’s weekly checkup: it’s his kitchen table, surrounded by paintings of fruit, Oklahoma State University merchandise and photos of his Navy days.

Kennedy, who has pancreatic cancer and diabetes, is one of about 50 oncology patients at Mercy Health System who participate in the vEngagement health monitoring program. He takes his blood pressure and other vital signs daily and sends them, along with his blood sugar readings, to a virtual care team.

“They’re the ones that got my diabetes under control because they were on me every day,” he said. “If I think something’s wrong, I don’t have to make an appointment, wait a couple days.”

The team calls him if any of the numbers raise concerns, but lately they’ve only talked during regularly scheduled appointments.

Last Wednesday, he checked in with Andrew Clark, a physician assistant, via the FaceTime app on an iPad. Clark said Kennedy’s blood sugar levels had stabilized recently, and went down a list of symptoms. Chest pain? No. Shortness of breath? No more than usual. Nausea? No. Diarrhea? No. Swelling? No.

Clark confirmed a few appointments, asked Kennedy about his plans to ride his Harley to meet some buddies from the Navy over the long weekend and signed off.

“Keep up the good work,” he said. “You’ve been pretty low maintenance once you got those sugars under control.”

The whole appointment took less than five minutes.

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