IOWA CITY, Iowa — A program started by the University of Iowa Health Care system is freeing up hospital beds, according to officials.
When the pandemic started in March, UIHC formed its Home Treatment Team. Telehealth for COVID-19 patients with underlying health conditions.
Patients track their vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, and blood oxygen) daily and receive “virtual” visits via phone or video from the providers to check on their progress. Close monitoring means patients who need extra assistance can get to the hospital or emergency room.
"We get them a vitals kits that has a blood pressure cuff, and pulse oximeter, and we're calling them frequently," said Dr. Andrew Bryant, director of the COVID-19 Home Treatment Team. "We will follow patients to the point where they've recovered from their acute illness."
Only 8. 9% of patients in the program needed to go to the hospital.
"I would estimate that we probably... prevented upwards of 50 plus admissions," Dr. Bryant. "Since March, we've followed over 1,200 patients. We're actively following about 120 patients right now."
Leaders of UI Health Care’s HTT reached out to other health system leaders to share the HTT and offer assistance to help establish similar programs elsewhere. Genesis Health System in Davenport recently implemented a Home Care program modeled after the UI program.