InTouch Xpress technology allows Mayo staff to interact with COVID patients remotely

Author : jamhuray
Publish Date : 2020-12-23 20:40:53


InTouch Xpress technology allows Mayo staff to interact with COVID patients remotely

Even with proper PPE and precautions in place, every interaction with a COVID-19 positive patient presents a risk for health care workers. A new device at Mayo Clinic Health System is helping limit in person contact while still providing frequent check-ins with hospitalized individuals.

InTouch Xpress and Xpress Cart, a portable device with a microphone and screen, resembles a small TV on a wheeling stand, with attachments allowing physicians to check a patient's heartbeat or perform general exams from another location.
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Like many hospitals, Mayo has been increasingly implementing telemedicine and virtual care, with the coronavirus pandemic speeding up the process.

The Xpress devices have been used since the start of the local pandemic last spring, and last month enough of the devices for every patient room, not just COVID units, were purchased.

Renee Groth, nurse manager on Mayo's COVID floors, says patients have responded positively to the technology, which they can use to ask providers questions, obtain spiritual care, connect with dietary staff or converse with specialists in other departments.

The devices are not a replacement for care -- COVID patients are still checked on in person once or twice a day, or as required -- but rather limits unnecessary physical interactions and thus reduces infectious spread and preserving PPE, says Groth.

The portable unit is housed in the patient's room and accessible to them either on their own or with the assistance of a nurse, and providers can connect via an electronic device either from within the facility or remotely through their work computer or work mobile phone.

In addition to convenience and safety, Groth says a benefit of the device is the ability for a patient to see their provider's face, unobscured by masks, shields, suits and head covers, for a more personal interaction.

"They get to see them fully un-garbed," Groth says. "Patients say, 'Oh, that's what you look like!'"

Groth says Mayo is working toward making the devices useable for patient and family interactions, especially valuable with visitor restrictions in place. Patients are currently able to connect with loved ones through smartphone or tablet.

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