Trinity Regional Medical Center Launches Telemedicine Program
Faced with a growing shortage of physicians, rural hospitals nationwide are using telemedicine to ensure consistent physician coverage, Trinity Regional Medical Center is the latest hospital to announce the launch of an innovative program leveraging technology through a partnership with Eagle Telemedicine for general inpatient care overnight.
“As a physician, I believe this telemedicine program will allow us to provide the highest level of care overnight,” shares Lincoln Wallace, MD, Regional VP, Medical Director. “I also think this program will allow us to be able to provide high quality care to more people and keep individuals in Fort Dodge, so they can stay close to home.”
How the telemedicine program works
The telemedicine program will be utilized for patients staying in the hospital and needing physician care between 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. The ER will continue to be staffed by local physicians at all hours and physician specialists will still be on call to respond as needed.
A dedicated team of board-certified physicians will work with Trinity’s team on a regular basis and become an extension to the Trinity team. Leading the Eagle team is Dr. Brian Hunt, a seasoned hospitalist board-certified in Internal Medicine, who provides telemedicine services to hospitals across the U.S. through Eagle Telemedicine. He and other physicians in the Eagle program will work closely with Dr. Alex Cathey, Medical Director of the Trinity Regional Medical Center Hospital Medicine Program, and other clinical staff as an integral part of the healthcare team.
If a patient needs to be seen by a physician, a nurse will roll a cart into their room which is equipped with a digital stethoscope and other diagnostic equipment, as well as a videoconferencing monitor and camera. The equipment enables a remote physician to communicate directly, face to face, with the patient and their on-site care team. The remote physician also is able to securely access the patient’s medical records and lab results.
Eagle’s program receives high marks from patients and their families. Elderly patients, who can sometimes be the most resistant to new technology, usually have no problem with the technology and they appreciate the focus, quick responsiveness, and uninterrupted attention from the remote physicians. Physicians and other clinical staff like it, too.
Good for patients, good for doctors
“We are pleased to bring the benefits of telemedicine to our patients,” said Leah Glasgo, President and Chief Executive Officer of Trinity Regional Medical Center. “This program improves our ability to continue providing exceptional patient care during the overnight hours. The telemedicine physicians we are working with are an expansion of our team who collaborate with our own doctors and provide guidance and expertise to our nurses and other clinical staff.”
Having telemedicine physicians ready at any time is a tremendous benefit for patients who might have to wait while on-call physicians make their way to the hospital. Besides enhancing quality of care for patients, the program also enhances quality of life for Trinity’s physicians and staff. Telemedicine minimizes the number of nighttime visits that daytime physicians must make and reduces the need to use temporary physicians to fill staffing gaps.
“We are delighted to welcome Trinity Regional Medical Center to our telemedicine program,” said Talbot “Mac” McCormick, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Eagle Telemedicine. “We have devoted more than eight years to perfecting our telemedicine models of care, and we appreciate the enthusiasm with which our program has been adopted. It’s another proof point that telemedicine fills a vital need in healthcare today.”
UnityPoint Health – Trinity Regional Medical Center will be hosting an open house for the community on Tuesday, November 19 from 1-3 p.m. All are welcome to come learn more and see the technology.