Close up of nurse working on a tablet

A health system and nursing home in Beulah, ND, use the TytoCare™ Medical Exam Kit to reduce exposure to COVID-19 while maintaining access to care. Concerned about the significant decline in routine and preventive care, Coal Country Community Health Center and Knife River Care Center looked to telehealth services and corresponding equipment as a solution.

“We began using the TytoCare device in April 2021,” explained Deb Kasanke, director of nursing at Coal Country Community Health Center. “We were looking to keep patient access at outlying clinics during the COVID-19 pandemic in the case of healthcare worker shortage or quarantine.”

The Great Plains Quality Innovation Network (QIN) helped facilitate conversations in both organizations to implement the telehealth enhancement. “Obtaining high quality and safe care from the comfort of home is a true benefit for this rural community,” shared Natasha Green, MBA, BSN, quality improvement advisor for the Great Plains QIN. “TytoCare is designed for all types of remote use and is easy to access. All that is needed is the TytoApp, a smartphone or tablet, and a Wi-Fi connection.”

Kyla Sanders Knife River Care Center

Kyla Sanders, MSN, MBA, RN, director of nursing at Knife River Care Center describes the impact, “TytoCare provides a great opportunity to put eyes and ears on patients without them having to be in the clinics, especially during COVID. As of now, we have no official quantitative data, but we are seeing happier providers, families, and residents.”

The kit provides the healthcare provider with high-quality digital sounds of the heart and lungs; high-quality digital images and video of the ears, throat, and skin; as well as heart rate and body temperature. Using this examination data, the provider can determine a diagnosis, treatment plan, and necessary prescriptions.

Sanders continued, “This option of telehealth reduces stress for our residents and wait times for visits. Providers are often relieved when they ‘see’ a resident or patient using the Tyto system, rather than have to report and then wait for a clinic visit or, sometimes, an unnecessary emergency room (ER) visit.”

“Our staff were very receptive and excited to have access to this telehealth option and the ability to offer a full assessment, via a remote visit. At this time, our health center utilizes this telehealth option at least weekly,” Kasanke added.

“Another added benefit is the facilitation of visits for palliative care and hospice. Patients are not required to go out of their home,” Sanders contributed. “We have also noticed that our team is having to send patients out less frequently, which plays a significant impact on safety and overall health outcomes.”