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Business North - The Daily Briefing - Business Newspaper Online
Verizon grant helps St. Luke's enhance home care initiative
PHOTO: From left, Dr. Gary Peterson, St. Luke’s Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer; Stephanie Keppers-Anderson, St. Luke’s Home Care Manager; Nathan Peterson, Account Executive, Verizon Wireless; Catherine Carter Huber, Executive Director of St. Luke’s Foundation; Minnesota Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon, and John Strange, St. Luke’s President and CEO.
The Verizon Foundation has given St. Luke’s a $50,000 grant to enhance the health system’s home care telemonitoring initiative.
With the enhancements, St. Luke’s Home Care nurses can track the vital signs of patients from their homes. The telemonitoring program detects early warning signs of health problems - information that nurses refer to physicians.
Equipment used in the program includes wireless monitors for patients who do not have a landline telephone. It is capable of checking blood pressure, weight, pulse, respiratory rate and oxygen level, then send it to St. Luke’s by using cellular phone technology.
The program accommodates an ongoing shift in healthcare delivery from the in-patient to the home-based model, said Dr. Gary Peterson, St. Luke’s vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer. Last year, 853 patients used the homecare system, he said, 100 more than in 2014.
“At St. Luke’s, our mission is ‘The patient above all else.’ This very generous grant from Verizon will help us improve that mission,” he said.
The new technology will allow older Minnesotans to enjoy their way of life by continuing to reside at home, even in rural areas, said Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon.
“Technologies such as telemonitoring are critical to helping our seniors stay in their homes and avoid arduous trips to the hospital,” she said at a Wednesday news conference.
Verizon Wireless Account Executive Nathan Peterson said St. Luke’s technology allows homecare specialists to serve patients throughout the region’s broad geography.
“This program aligns strongly with Verizon’s mission to find innovative solutions for healthcare, education and social and geographic challenges,” he said.
The new technology allows caregivers to do a better job, said St. Luke’s President and CEO John Strange.
“It’s great that we have this privilege to be able to reach out to patients,” he said.
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