Cutting-Edge Telehealth Equipment Helps Jackson Health System Caregivers Monitor COVID-19 Patients Safely

Miami, FL – As Florida experienced a steady increase in COVID-19 cases, hospital systems across the state were faced with finding innovative ways to protect their patients and hospital staff. When Miami-Dade County emerged as Florida’s coronavirus hotspot, the Information Technology Department at Jackson Health System – the state’s largest public health system – decided to leverage a platform they already had in place: Cerner Patient Observer.

Cerner Patient Observer is a virtual observation solution that allows caregivers to monitor their patients’ rooms simultaneously from one location by having access to different cameras in those rooms. Prior to the pandemic, the technology solution had been used primarily to monitor patients who are at risk of falling. However, when Jackson was faced with the early stages of the pandemic, the IT team determined they could be useful for this new high-risk patient population. Jackson purchased nine camera carts, which were dispatched to the COVID-19 critical care units. While the cameras do not substitute bedside nursing and other critical interactions with caregivers, the advantages to the multi-care approach became immediately evident as an additional tool and safety pre-caution for Jackson’s medical team.

“The cameras help nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals monitor multiple patients, while minimizing bedside visits and the risk of contracting the virus,” said Michael Garcia, senior vice president and chief information officer at Jackson Health System. “This has also helped Jackson save on the cost of personal protective equipment and has provided us an additional way to protect our employees and patients.”

Two additional cameras are in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Holtz Children’s Hospital on the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center campus. In the event that a new mother tests positive for COVID-19 or her baby goes to the NICU, these cameras allow her to see her baby remotely, protecting the health of the patients and Jackson employees.

In April, Jackson submitted an application to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in an effort to obtain additional telehealth equipment that would be used during the pandemic and beyond for targeted patient populations, including patients at Jackson Behavioral Health Hospital, Miami Transplant Institute, maternity units, long-term care centers, and corrections health services facilities.

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