Say you’re a Midwestern farmer in a hospital bed, recovering from surgery or a major illness. It’s time for the nurse’s check-in, but there’s no knock on the door.
At Mercy Hospital in St. Louis, a camera attached to the wall over the foot of the bed whirls around, as a video monitor next to the camera lights up to show a smiling face with a headset on.
“Good afternoon, this is Jeff with SafeWatch,” the smiling face says. “Just doing my afternoon rounds.”
It’s a little hard to shake the Jetsons vibe in this telemedicine training exercise, but this kind of health care isn’t just futuristic; it’s happening now and expanding. On Oct. 6, Mercy Hospital will open its new telemedicine mothership. The idea isn’t so much to keep closer track of patients at the St. Louis hospital, as to treat thousands of patients spread across five states. Read/listen more.