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Staying Ahead of the Curve

This global pandemic has transformed the dynamics of our lives. The way we go about certain things has changed, and in some cases for the better. It’s hard to point out what positives came out of a pandemic that took so many lives, but the nature of Covid-19 disease did force us to adapt new and better methods. One such method was remote patient monitoring. Due to highly communicable temperament of Covid-19 virus, many institutions had no option but to remotely monitor patients, and so far it has worked very well. However, this particular concept of remotely monitoring patients was already being used at UVA Children’s Hospital long before Covid-19 turned up. The method has been used under the guidance of pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Jeffrey Vergales, and is said to have hugely positive impact on pediatric care as whole.

The seeds of this idea were sowed when Dr. Jeffrey first joined the hospital and took on the role of overseeing their home monitoring program, which was put together for patients suffering from high-risk pediatric congenital heart disease. However, at the time, this particular system was fairly rudimentary. It would take a while before this rudimentary system would develop into an advanced methodology, a methodology that was ahead of the times by a country mile.

Talking about the journey to this point, Dr. Jeffrey shed some light on the old arrangement. He revealed “We were responding to data, probably when it was three to five days out of date already,”

“And for some kids, that maybe wasn’t dangerous – it could’ve been dangerous – but it wasn’t ideal. There were times we could’ve probably intervened earlier and sooner than we otherwise should have.”

Needless to say, Dr. Jeffrey was always keen on amending the proceedings. However, to get it up and running he and his team had to deal with a host of logistical issues. Nevertheless, they were committed to the cause, so the team started making meaningful steps forward.

In 2014, Dr. Jeffrey and his team finally rolled out their first remote patient monitoring platform. The initial response was so positive that it encouraged them to venture into different medical branches, and the team looks forward to build on those foundations.


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