Person holding mug and doing a telehealth appointment with a doctor through their laptop

Five hospitals across Ascension Florida and Gulf Coast have started using an innovative monitoring program, Ascension Home Monitoring, that provides an extra layer of support to high-risk patients diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Ascension Home Monitoring provides remote monitoring for patients who are recovering from the virus, have been discharged from the hospital or emergency department, or are symptomatic but don't meet criteria for hospital admission. Remote patient monitoring is also being provided in Ascension Alabama, Ascension Saint Agnes in Baltimore, Ascension Michigan, Ascension Oklahoma, Ascension Tennessee, Ascension Texas and Ascension Wisconsin.

First launched in Florida in May at Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside in Jacksonville, the program was implemented next at Ascension hospitals in Pensacola, Florida, and Ascension Providence in Mobile, Alabama, and most recently by Ascension St. Vincent’s Southside and Clay County in the Jacksonville area.

Participants take home a wearable device that monitors their oxygen saturation levels, temperature and heart rate. Patients also must download a monitoring app that reminds them to enter their vital signs three times a day. This information gives providers real-time insights that they can use to determine next steps, such as going to the emergency department if needed.

Depending on their vital signs, the app generates a green, yellow or red status. If the status changes in a negative direction, for example from green to yellow, it triggers a call from an Ascension Connect nurse to the patient. If needed, nurses alert physicians or other healthcare providers who are on call 24 hours a day.

With an increase in patients with the virus who are seeking emergency care, this program also can help reduce emergency department admissions, conserve use of personal protective equipment for hospital staff and free up inpatient beds that are needed for COVID-19 cases.

“The home monitoring program is clearly working. We are definitely keeping people out of the hospital,” said Huson Gilberstadt, MD, Chief Clinical Officer, Ascension Florida and Gulf Coast. “From all of the feedback we have received, the patient experience with the monitoring program has been phenomenal.”

As of July 27, Ascension St. Vincent’s had enrolled more than 150 patients in home monitoring, while Ascension Providence and Ascension Sacred Heart had enrolled a combined total of 67 participants.