A silver lining to the pandemic: At-home care helps patients detect life-threatening illnesses

Thanks to at-home monitoring, Whitney Williams noticed an emerging medical condition during her pregnancy and was able to get help early. Williams, pictured with Emma Rose, four months old.

(CNN)The coronavirus pandemic might have a silver lining.

With fewer in-person medical appointments and more virtual ones, patients are monitoring their health at home and catching potentially deadly signs and symptoms earlier, spurring a movement to get more monitoring devices into patients' hands.
    "Covid has lit a fire under us," said Dr. Michael Maniaci, who leads the Advanced Care at Home program at the Mayo Clinic's campus in Florida.
      It's one of several at-home programs gaining momentum because of the pandemic.
        "This opens the potential to re-imagine care in entirely new ways," said Dr. Peter Pronovost, who started an at-home monitoring program for coronavirus patients in Cleveland. "You can make a hospital at home."

        Mom detects her own preeclampsia

          In April, because of Covid-19, Whitney Williams started having fewer in-person appointments with her obstetrician. So the pharmacist from Lexington, Kentucky, decided to start checking her blood pressure daily at home.
          Williams with her daughter, Emma Rose, two weeks old.
          One day her blood pressure was high, and Williams called her doctor, who asked her to come into the office. It turns out she had developed preeclampsia, a disorder that can be deadly for mother and baby.
          High blood pressure is a signature symptom, and because Williams caught hers in time, she and her baby are fine after long hospitalizations.
          "If I hadn't been checking my blood pressure at home and reporting it to my doctor, who knows if I would have made it to the hospital in time?" Williams wrote in a post on BabyCenter.
          In April, the Preeclampsia Foundation started the Cuff Kit program, so far delivering more than 2,500 blood pressure cuffs to pregnant women in seven states.