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St. Joseph Program Pairs Patients With Mobile Devices

Josh James

About 300 St. Joseph Hospital patients will soon be going home with new hi-tech gear that will keep them in closer contact with physicians.

For many patients managing chronic diseases, especially in rural Kentucky, the distance between home and the hospital presents an extra challenge. But the new program launched by KentuckyOne Health and Verizon seeks to shorten that distance – digitally.

Soon a group of St. Joseph patients over 50 who are suffering from congestive heart failure, diabetes, hypertension, and several other conditions will be keeping tabs on their progress and transmitting the results directly to their doctors.

"They will be given either a smartphone or a tablet device, one or the other, and they will get connected through those devices to Fitbit technology, a wrist monitor. They will also be given a food scale and a weight scale," says Dr. Barbara Reynolds, Vice President of Quality and Medical Affairs with KentuckyOne Health.

Using those tools, patients can measure their own vital signs, monitor their condition from home, and, perhaps most importantly, better assess when a trip to their physician is in order.  

Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson was on hand the program’s official unveiling Friday. He expressed optimism that, if successful, the 6-month program might serve as a model that can be implemented at other hospitals throughout the state.

The program is being funded by a $125,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation.