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Governor Brian Kemp gets first look at Navicent's new virtual care system for COVID-19 patients

The goal of the system is to alleviate strain on local hospitals and offer convenient care for patients

MACON, Ga. — Governor Brian Kemp got the first look at a new virtual care system for COVID-19 patients. Navicent Health says it's the first of its kind in the state of Georgia.

Navicent calls it the virtual care delivery system. Their goal is to provide easy healthcare access while alleviating the strain on local hospitals. 

"Equally important, provide expedient access to many of our patients who continue to be hesitant to get expedient care," said Dr. Ninfa Saunders, CEO of Navicent Health. 

Credit: Ashlyn Webb

Here's how it works. Less acute patients, or those who have mild to moderate forms of COVID-19, can recover from home. Navicent doctors say the key part of this is if patients meet criteria. 

"We look at patients both coming to the emergency center and those that are already in the hospital, that they fulfilled criteria clinically-driven and decided by physicians to meet standards, to be able to have their convalescence at home," said Dr. Dean Kindler with Navicent Health.

Patients will be sent home with a kit which includes a blood pressure monitor, a pulse oximeter to monitor their oxygen levels, and a thermometer. 

"Along with that, they'll be logging at home their vital signs and discussing each day with a care team that round, something much like would happen in the hospital with nursing, touching base with them each day, with physicians rounding and writing orders for those patients each day," Kindler said. 

Navicent says, in turn, this new system will allow them to discharge patients from the hospital earlier if they are able to recover from home. 

Governor Kemp says he's looking forward to seeing how this system progresses healthcare in the area.

"As bad as a pandemic is, there's been a lot of good things that we've learned, and things that in some ways we've almost been forced into doing," Kemp said. "They're going to be really good for us long term. You know they're going to make the hospital more efficient. They're going to provide better care for people that can't, or don't want to, get out."

Right now, this system will only be for COVID-19 patients. However, spokesperson Megan Allen says Navicent hopes to expand the system to more patients in the future.