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Program helps COVID-19 patients safely recover at home

More than 100 patients have benefited so far from Monument Health’s use of COVID Care Companion, a home monitoring program through Epic that allows COVID-positive patients to recover at home while being closely monitored by their care team. The program went live June 1, and it’s had a great impact on patients.

“Overall this has been a really impactful program,” said Family Medicine Physician Alexia Gillen, D.O. “It’s provided more than symptomatic support for these patients. Caregivers have been providing a lot of emotional support as well as a connection that many of these people need.”

COVID-positive patients whose symptoms can be managed at home are asked to participate in the program. Those who have a Monument Health primary care provider or who don’t have an existing provider, can be enrolled. Patients are monitored through MyChart or through daily phone calls. Health Informatics nurses working the Nurse Triage Line review patients’ information daily for any new or worsening symptoms and coordinate advanced care with a provider if needed.

“We’ve had to escalate some cases, and the partnerships with our Emergency Departments and Urgent Cares have been a very good,” Dr. Gillen said. “It’s definitely been an organization-wide effort between our clinics, our metal health team, discharge planners, Home+ Home Medical Equipment, and more,” she said. Home Medical Equipment has helped order the pulse oximeters and thermometers patients use at home during the program.

Whether they live alone or in a household that has several COVID-19 cases, patients have needed help navigating through this illness. Dr. Gillen said many are experiencing depression and/or anxiety due to the illness and the isolation that comes with it, so behavioral health caregivers have helped provide resources as well. “Overall, the tool is helping us reassure patients that we are helping them and that we are here for them,” Dr. Gillen said.

Donita O’Meara, Registered Nurse and Project Lead for Healthcare Informatics, helped manage the program’s implementation. She said the team seized the opportunity to offer the service when Epic offered the software for free. The Epic Analyst team worked on a very fast timeline to create the functionality within Epic and test the program. “The kudos really go to that team for all their hard work,” she said.

Dr. Gillen said there are a lot of opportunities for Monument Health to use the Care Companion program with other patients in the future, such as to monitor those with diabetes or cancer, or to use as a post-op tool for monitoring patients after surgery. “It’s been well embraced by patients, so I think there are a lot of possibilities with Care Companion.”

Monument Health caregivers who test positive for COVID-19 will be monitored through Care Companion in order to ensure they can safely return to work. Thank you to all teams who helped implement this program for our community.

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