Ochsner Health is a system that delivers health to the people of Louisiana, Mississippi and the Gulf South with a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, Ochsner Health’s Digital Medicine Programs are helping patients manage chronic conditions from the safety of home.
Hypertension and Diabetes Digital Medicine Programs
According to the CDC, individuals with chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension are at a much greater risk of experiencing negative health outcomes from COVID-19. The Ochsner Diabetes and Hypertension Digital Medicine Program provides these vulnerable patient populations with a tangible solution to manage chronic conditions from home, reducing the number of in-person visits needed.
Studies have shown medication alone is not the best way to tackle chronic conditions. Key lifestyle changes, including sleep, diet, exercise and stress management also impact the health of an individual. Ochsner’s Hypertension and Diabetes Digital Medicine Programs help patients balance medication and lifestyle changes needed to keep chronic conditions under control.
After enrolling in the program, Hypertension patients receive a Bluetooth, digital pressure cuff and Type 2 Diabetes patients receive a digital glucometer. During the COVID-19 response, Ochsner is waiving shipping costs for the devices for newly enrolled patients. Each patient is assigned a dedicated care team consisting of health coaches and clinicians to closely monitor readings from at-home digital devices and create a personalized care plan, which includes key check-ins via phone and messaging to help keep the patient accountable and on track.
As COVID-19 continues to have an unprecedented impact on how individuals interact with one another, enrollment in Ochsner Digital Medicine programs has rapidly increased, highlighting the growing community desire for remote access to high quality healthcare. Last year, Ochsner’s Digital Medicine program experienced a 109% growth in enrollment. Following the COVID-19 outbreak in Louisiana, program enrollment increased by 400% within 3 weeks. Currently, about 10,000 patients are enrolled in the program with more than 3,000 new patients in the process of onboarding.
Ochsner’s Diabetes and Hypertension Digital Medicine Programs are currently licensed in Louisiana and Mississippi with expansion to additional states slated by the end of 2020. For more information or to see if you are eligible, visit ochsner.org/digital-medicine or call 855-781-8737.
“Leveraging our existing digital medicine programs has been key to keeping our patients with chronic conditions connected to their care teams during this uncertain time,” said David Houghton, MD, Medical Director of Digital Medicine. Ochsner remains dedicated to putting our patients first and continues to look for innovative ways to deliver high quality care to our most vulnerable patients.”
Connected MOM Digital Medicine Program
In addition to managing diabetes and hypertension, Ochsner is leveraging its Connected MOM (Maternity Online Monitoring) Digital Medicine Program to minimize the chances of another vulnerable population – expectant mothers – from being potentially exposed to COVID-19.
Through the Connected MOM program, expectant mothers stay connected with their care team digitally, while reducing the number of in-person visits during their pregnancy. Connected MOM patients can digitally send weight, blood pressure readings and, when necessary, urine protein test results to their medical team.
During the COVID-19 response, Ochsner is delivering the Connected MOM kits to each newly enrolled patient’s home. The Connected MOM tools and elements pair directly with the patient’s smartphone and include a Bluetooth scale and blood pressure cuff along with urine protein test kits. Additionally, Ochsner is offering drive-through blood pressure checks two times a week at the Ochsner Baptist Women’s Pavilion for postpartum moms who were hypertensive during pregnancy and/or following delivery.
As of the first week in April, Ochsner is offering enrollment for all expectant mothers into the Connected MOM program. More than 1,270 Ochsner Health patients are currently enrolled in Connected MOM. For more information, visit Ochsner.org/connectedmom.
How is this beneficial during COVID-19?
Unnecessary visits to emergency departments and urgent care facilities for chronic conditions could increase risk of exposure to additional illnesses and increase the chance of infecting others when the visit may not be needed. For 80 percent of cases and if the patient is stable and has mild symptoms, COVID-19 can and should be managed safely at home. Healthcare professionals are advising against going to an urgent care first and only going to an emergency department if symptoms are a true, life-threatening emergency. If you are experiencing runny nose, fever, cough, sore throat, headache and shortness of breath, you can first conduct a visit with a primary or urgent care provider through Ochsner Anywhere Care.
If a patient has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or has been in contact with someone with the virus and is experiencing shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, it is important to seek emergency medical assistance.
For the latest updates on how Ochsner is responding to COVID-19, please visit www.ochsner.org/coronavirus.
About Ochsner Health
Ochsner Health is a system that delivers health to the people of Louisiana, Mississippi and the Gulf South with a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate. Ochsner Health is a not-for-profit committed to giving back to the communities it serves through preventative screenings, health and wellness resources and partnerships with innovative organizations that share our vision. Ochsner Health healed more than 876,000 people from across the globe in 2019, providing the latest medical breakthroughs and therapies, including digital medicine for chronic conditions and telehealth specialty services. Ochsner Health is a national leader, named the top hospital in Louisiana and a top children’s hospital by U.S. News & World Report. As Louisiana’s leading healthcare educator, Ochsner Health and its partners educate thousands of healthcare professionals annually. Ochsner Health is innovating healthcare by investing in new technologies and research to make world-class care more accessible, affordable, convenient and effective. Ochsner's team of more than 26,000 employees and 4,500 providers are working to reinvent the future of health and wellness in the region. To learn more about Ochsner Health, please visit www.ochsner.org. To transform your health, please visit www.ochsner.org/healthyyou.