Telehealth Maternal Fetal Medicine Program Launched at Catholic Health’s Mercy Hospital
Catholic Health’s Mercy Hospital is expanding its telehealth services by offering maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) care to high-risk expectant mothers of its Family Care Center, a full-service outpatient obstetrical and pediatric clinic that cares for approximately 9,000 patients each year. Thanks to a grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, Mercy is able to increase health care access and offer virtual services to expectant mothers who are diagnosed with diabetes, chronic hypertension, and/or pre-eclampsia; in addition to mothers who need further genetic counseling.
“Historically, MFM programs have required in-person visits. But now, thanks to the support from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, we are able to offer these critical and potentially lifesaving services to expectant mothers who often face health care barriers such as transportation during their pre-and-postpartum care,” said Dr. Baraa Allaf, MFM chair at Catholic Health’s Mercy Hospital. “We are even more thrilled to offer these services at a time where fear fueled by the pandemic has also been keeping patients from continuing necessary care.”
Expectant mothers receiving MFM services for the aforementioned conditions will receive Bluetooth enabled devices including a tablet with a camera, a glucometer to measure sugar levels, a blood pressure cuff, a pulse oximeter to measure oxygen levels and a scale.
The initial set-up for the telehealth appointments will occur during a visit from a Catholic Health’s Catholic Home Care pediatric and maternity home health nurse. The data from the peripherals will be sent to a central monitoring station at Mercy which is staffed by a telehealth nurse 24/7. Any abnormalities captured by the technology will be shared with the patient’s physician for follow up. For more urgent abnormalities, the telehealth and/or home health nurse will contact the patient in real time to provide further instructions/assistance.
MFM telehealth services at Mercy began in late March 2021 and it has already proven to be successful and valuable for patients and the physicians/nurses, alike. According to Suzanne Hrubes, a Catholic Home Care nurse working on the project, the patient feedback has been positive. She said, “Patients really enjoy using the added technology because they don’t have to travel and/or coordinate daycare — having access to the staff 24/7 is key.”
Mercy Hospital’s MFM specialists focus on providing comprehensive and compassionate patient-centered care for both mother and baby. They help mothers make educated choices based on best possible outcomes for their health and the health of their baby or babies. For more information about Mercy Hospital, call (516) 626-3729.
Photo Caption (L to R): Chris Cells; AVP of Clinical Operations at Mercy, Suzanne Hrubres; Catholic Home Care pediatric and maternity home health nurse; and Dr. Baraa Allaf, Chief of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Mercy.