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Innovation as a model of care

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Dr. Jeffrey Vergales, an Associate Professor of Medicine and Pediatric Cardiology at the University of Virginia Health System, began a relationship with Locus Health in 2015, hoping to apply innovative technology to improve patient care. Caring for the most vulnerable pediatric cardiology patients formerly involved a nurse practitioner calling parents and guardians each day to write down measurements taken overnight by caregivers. Those measurements (temperature, SP02, heart rate) were entered into a binder and reviewed to decide which cases needed additional care and, later, input by a clinician into the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) for documentation. Dr. Vergales explains, “we would go from operating rooms and NICU spaces with the latest and greatest technologies at our disposal directly back in time to the 1960’s, managing patients with pen and paper in a binder.” Dr. Vergales was instrumental in introducing UVA Health System to their first remote patient monitoring program in partnership with Locus, leaving the days of the binder behind.

The solution relied on an important enhancement – integration of Locus into UVA’s Epic EMR – such that patients could be sent home with biometric devices and iPads to record data that could be seen directly by the clinicians. Giving clinicians the ability to virtually round on patients direct from the EMR is just one of the ways Locus helps streamline workflows. Out-of-range values can be easily spotted, and caregivers can communicate concerns directly to the care team. “Working with Locus allowed us to take the current workflow and optimize it for efficiency and effectiveness,” says Dr. Vergales. “Our NP now can see patients in clinic rather than relay data from patients to the binder to the medical record. Providing the resources for our clinicians to focus on the patients and not the paperwork is a significant differentiator for UVA.”

“For most health systems, the work of putting the data into the EMR has not been a priority,” says Tara Faust, CTO of Locus Health. “We see some health systems incorporating one-off, condition-specific solutions. This is time consuming for the health system and introduces new cybersecurity risks that no one can afford. Locus gives the health system ONE trusted partner for support and device integration. We are proud of the work we have done and will continue to do with UVA.”

The use of the Locus integration has improved the quality of care and alleviated the clinical staff burden of unnecessary data entry. “We log in, we review data, and we see which patients need attention, who needs a clinic visit, and what trends are concerning,” says Dr. Vergales. “The Locus platform implementation has given us valuable time back in practice. That framework is important to understand we have revolutionized monitoring and data. Regardless of what we think of what has changed in care, we changed our care model, and it is not too grandiose to say this is the standard now – Locus enables us to set the bar for a much better standard of care.”

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