NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A New Mexico company is hoping to ease the strain on overwhelmed hospitals. Dorothy Sellers says her 70-year-old father Loyd tested positive for the coronavirus in December. “It was very scary watching him struggle to breathe,” said Sellers.
So Sellers took him to the hospital. “But they didn’t keep him, his oxygen levels were at 90 and they explained to me that 88 is that magic number,” said Sellers.
Instead, they left with a “Smart Health Hub,” a remote patient monitoring device developed by Las Cruces based company Electronic Caregiver. “People have a series of vital signs measurement devices,” said Mark Francis, Digital Health Integration Officer and Electronic Giver.
Sellers says from her Las Cruces home she was able to monitor her father’s temperature, heart rate and oxygen levels. She was also in constant contact with health care providers who were monitoring his vitals remotely. “Knowing that they were just a button away, which I’m not going to lie I did hit that button several times out of fear. It was always nice to have a comforting voice talk us through things,” said Sellers.
The program is available to anyone showing symptoms or who has tested positive for COVID-19. The company says since starting the program in November they’ve had nearly 200 participants. “That has increased and freed up 50% the local bed capacity in the region so it’s had a massive impact,” said Francis.
Sellers says after a few days of using the device her father’s condition got worse and he did have to spend three weeks in the hospital. Now he’s on the road to recovery and still being monitored through the program. “It’s comforting to know that even now he is still being watched, God- forbid if something happens, they’re there,” said Sellers.
Electronic Caregiver got a $150,000 grant from Intel for its COVID-to-home program. It’s only available in Dona Ana County right now but they say they do plan to expand.