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ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KSDK) - What if you could go to the doctor without ever leaving your home? Mercy Hospital broke ground on a building this week that the organization believes could someday make traditional hospital visits obsolete.

Mercy is making a $50 million bet on the future of medicine at the intersection of Clarkson and Interstate 64 in St. Louis County.

The facility will expand Mercy's telemedicine capabilities – doctors and nurses seeing patients remotely, via video conferencing and high tech medical tools.

Specifically, Mercy hopes to open up access to specialists in rural areas where people currently may have to drive hours to get the care they need.

Since Mercy began its telemedicine services in 2006 the hospital has seen about 250,000 patients.

With the new facility it hopes to see 3 million in the next five years.

"Healthcare is expensive. We all want our insurance rates to drop," said Wendy Deibert, who oversees Mercy's telemedicine program. "The only way that's going to happen is you got to really change your mindset. Think out of the box and deliver care much differently that we do today."

Healthcare experts from Stanford, to Yale, to the Mayo Clinic are visiting St. Louis, trying to copy what Mercy is pioneering.

Its new building should be complete in about a year.

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