County hosts workshop on preventative care technology

Advances in technology allowing healthcare providers to monitor patents remotely in the name of preventive care could support indigent Hays County residents in the future.

MRG Medical showed Hays County Commissioners in a June 25 workshop a watch that can monitor a patient’s vital signs, as well as their sleeping and eating habits.

MRG officials hope to provide the county with the technology, which they feel could help slash the $2 million spent by Hays County that pays for indigent resident hospital bills.

State statutes requires counties across the state to pay for these medical expenses; the majority of costs come from hospital visits.

“Any time (the indigent population) goes to the hospital, it comes out of your budget,” said MRG Medical co-founder Bob Lang. “Imagine if we were to assign a primary care physician to these patients … they could manage those patients and keep them out of the hospital.”

Approximately $3 billion is spent every year in the United States on emergency room visits and reactive healthcare practices, according to MRG. Their technology could cut $1 billion a year, Lang said.

The watch collects data from residents and sends it to a physician that works with the county. MRG Medical Founder Kyle Hayungs said the company’s technology serves as a building block for a more efficient healthcare system.

In Hays County, a lack of physicians and medical professionals is hindering the ability for residents to receive adequate healthcare. There is one doctor for every 1,396 patients in Hays County, which is twice the national average, according to a 2016 Hays County health assessment.

Additionally, the uninsured population is twice the national average, according to the assessment.

Lang displayed his vitals to the Hays County Commissioners during the June 25 workshop with MRG.

“I’m an open book,” Lang said. “It allows any physician or any caregiver to see my vitals without having to go to a doctor to understand what’s going on with my health.”

A direct connection to the physicians should prevent hospital visits and foster a closer relationship with healthcare professionals and those who typically do not have access to healthcare.

MRG officials predict the implementation of the product would save the county from needing to budget $2 million annually. 

However, it is unknown as of press time how much it could cost the county to purchase the technology from MRG.

The workshop was the first step in initiating the conversation with the county, so the specifics of the program are yet to be worked out.

County Judge Ruben Becerra said the workshop was a good opportunity to start a conversation on the issue.

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