The following article is from Arkansas Hospitals magazine, a custom publication of Vowell, Inc., which also produces Arkansas Money & Politics.
In October 2015, Mercy opened the Virtual Care Center, the first and only facility in the world dedicated to providing telemedical care. The four-story, 125,000-square-foot building is the cornerstone of Mercy’s virtual care program and serves as a nationally recognized center for developing and delivering telehealth.
From the ground up, the Virtual Care Center (VCC) is designed to bring together the best minds to provide patient care and to develop optimized work flow processes and advance technological innovations that will transform health care.
Mercy invested $54 million in building the Virtual Care Center, which today houses 600 specialized medical personnel. As the command center for telemedicine across the system, the VCC is always open – 24/7/365.
The four-story modern structure is both beautiful and functional. Featuring floor-to-ceiling glass walls outside and natural stone, tile and exposed wood inside, it is surrounded by a pond and towering, mature trees.
The first floor includes a briefing area where visitors are introduced to the facility and to Mercy’s vision for virtual care. Conference space, a chapel and a café are also housed on this level.
The next floor is the center of telemedical care, where Mercy Virtual team members use two-way audio-video technology and diagnostic and monitoring tools to virtually interact with and care for patients. Each workstation is set up to allow a virtual care physician, nurse or care navigator to monitor and interact with multiple patients at a time, similar to how a bedside caregiver might monitor a variety of patients within a specific unit.
On the top floor, a bank of monitors displays a wide variety of statistical information on Mercy’s virtual services. This space, known as the “garage,” also serves as an innovation hub where care team members gather to discuss, plan and design the next wave of telehealth innovations and applications.