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Remote Oxygen Therapy 'Keeps Beds Free' At Medical Center

Zoltan Balogh / MTI via AP, File

The Yavapai Regional Medical Center has launched a new outpatient program to treat some COVID-19 patients in need of oxygen therapy. The initiative allows them to recover at home while medical staff monitor them remotely. 


About 90 percent of COVID-19 patients who come to the medical center require oxygen therapy — but,not all of them are sick enough to be hospitalized. That’s according to Kenneth Boush, marketing and communications director at Yavapai Regional Medical Center. He says the new program sends patients home with oxygen equipment while healthcare workers monitor their progress through Bluetooth remote technology. 


 “It made more than a huge difference. It was really a game changer for us,” Boush says. 


In terms of hospital capacity, Boush says the center has recently experienced “historic highs” at its Prescott and Prescott Valley campuses. The remote oxygen therapy program has helped to lower those numbers.


“They’re not in a bed in the hospital,” Boush says. “That helps us keep beds free so that we can respond to any additional spike.”


The medical center is also collaborating with local first responders, who make house calls and assist patients with equipment. 


The initiative began with the help of a COVID-19 task force established in February of 2020, according to Boush. The task force meets to review case data, observe patterns, and adapt in treating COVID-19 patients. Other healthcare organizations in Arizona and across the country have expressed interest in the oxygen program, he added.


He estimates more than 500 people have moved through the program since it launched in December — freeing up hundreds of hospital beds. 

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