Continuum Family Care is working to provide care to patients with more ease and diagnose issues earlier through different forms of technology, like online check-in and patient monitoring.
The new medical clinic opened Feb. 15 and partnered with Spire Health to provide better remote patient monitoring. The Spire Health Tag is a wearable device that monitors breathing and oxygen levels in people with chronic respiratory diseases.
Dr. Chip Fillingane, who opened Continuum Family Care as his private practice after leaving Mosaic Medical Center - Maryville, followed Spire’s technology before it was expanded to respiratory diseases. Now that he has his own practice, he is trying to use this technology to help take preventative measures against patients having to go to the hospital.
“For people with severe respiratory disorders, it establishes a baseline and then can see when they deviate from that to predict if they need to be hospitalized,” Fillingane said. “When it sees them go away from that baseline, it contacts our office so we can bring them in and try to manage it in a clinical setting before they need to be in a hospital setting.”
Not only is remote patient monitoring exclusively through technology, almost everything that is done by patients happens online before they come to the office or while they are waiting before their appointments.
Amelia Ebrecht, a licensed practical nurse, said the move to online was in an effort to help cut wait times and make things more simple for people.
“Whenever they make their appointment, they get an email or a text message, and they’ll go into that and fill out their whole assessment,” Ebrecht said. “We do all the extra stuff before so they can spend more time with the doctor.”
Ebrecht said that some patients have doubts about using a lot of online communication, but the people at Continuum Family Care are there to help those patients.
“Older people are really hesitant with electronics, and my hope is to have them be more comfortable with the system and checking-in process,” Ebrecht said. “I know it’s new; it’s a little different, but I think that the new technology and the flow will help people realize we are here for them.”
Continuum Family Care keeps all of what would be paper copies in their Electronic Medical Record where they can access records from surrounding areas and across Missouri. They are working to become more digitally-dependent like many practices in bigger cities currently are.
Helen Smith, who is also a licensed practical nurse at Continuum Family Care, said that there was a drive to be environmentally conscious with their practice.
“Our goal is to be as paperless as possible,” Smith said. “Everything that we can possibly do online or through our EMR is what we strive for. Even our fax machine comes through our EMR; it can be downloaded, so rarely do we ever use paper.”
Continuum Family Care offers care from infancy all the way to the end of life. They offer full laboratory services, primary caregiving, preventative care and telehealth appointments to people who want to have a virtual experience with them, especially during COVID-19.
Despite opening during a pandemic, the staff all agreed that opening had been an easy transition with very little bumps along the way.
“It has been so amazing to be a part of this journey,” Smith said. “When we started, this was nothing but a basement with a furnace. Watching it be able to grow and be so well-functioning, it just is going to keep getting better.”