Tele-health business launches
A new tele-health business has launched in Bermuda with the aim of reducing the burden of chronic diseases.
Lunette Castillo, a nurse practitioner studying for a doctoral degree in leadership to improve health population outcomes, believes TeleCare Bermuda can help to improve outcomes by helping patients to manage conditions between doctors’ visits.
Ms Castillo, who is American Nurses Credentialling Centre board-certified, stressed that tele-health services do not replace doctors, but rather supplement the care they provide.
A spouse of a Bermudian whose 13-year nursing career began in the United States, Ms Castillo has been a nurse practitioner for the past eight years, including the last two years in Bermuda.
A nurse practitioner is an advanced practice registered nurse who has earned at least a master’s degree and completed additional training in a speciality area of medicine. These advanced skills give them more authority for administering patient care.
In 2018, legislation passed which allowed licensed nurse practitioners to diagnose, provide medical management and to write prescriptions for common conditions under the supervision of a physician in Bermuda.
Ms Castillo said TeleCare Bermuda is backed by a leading software company for tele-health services in the US.
She added: “The evidence shows that the greatest improvements in our individual health outcomes occurs in the interactions that we have in-between physician visits, and I am completely humbled to be able to bring such a service to Bermuda.
“TeleCare Bermuda strives to serve as a daily virtual health advocate for all residents of Bermuda regardless of socioeconomic status.”
She added that her service was covered by most health insurance plans and that it would waive all copays.
Ms Castillo added: “I have a sincere passion for helping to solve healthcare disparities.”
Having implemented similar programmes in the US, she said she was confident her business could help to tackle the island’s healthcare crisis.
Telehealth services have risen to prominence during the pandemic, especially during the shelter-in-place period.
Last month, Ricky Brathwaite, chief executive officer of the Bermuda Health Council, described tele-health services as “an important bridge of health to our residents”. The BHeC has issued draft guidelines for tele-health services and is now seeking public feedback.
The service will be available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. It specialises in Bluetooth vital signs monitoring, remote patient monitoring, care coordination, chronic disease management, medication adherence, Covid-19 monitoring, transitional care, health education and health coaching.
Kim Wilson, the health minister, has described the prevalence of non-communicable diseases and obesity as “a matter of national importance” and an economic burden over time.
Ms Castillo believes tele-health services can help to address the problems.
She added: “It’s important to state that this programme is not to replace a GP, not to replace primary care, but is about doing nursing interventions between physician visits.”
TeleCare Bermuda will allow patients “to have a nurse at their fingertips”, someone to whom you can text, chat or e-mail, someone who can remotely monitor vital signs every day, she added, enabling anything of concern to be immediately addressed.
“It’s those kind of micro-interventions that make for improved healthcare outcomes,” Ms Castillo said.
She also thanked the Bermuda Government for being “a proponent of nursing”.
• TeleCare Bermuda has a website at www.TeleCareBermuda.com and is on Facebook, @TeleCareBermuda
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