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HAMC welcomes new technology

By Staff | Nov 25, 2011

The key for patients in the emergency room (ER) or in an intensive care unit (ICU) is to have immediate access to the best care, possible. The right decisions need to be made quickly.

Avera Health Services in Sioux Falls, SD has an eEmergency program to assist rural hospitals. This means using computers and sophisticated technology, an emergency department physician and nurse can accurately monitor patients from an off-site location, 24 hours/day. In this case, Rugby patients can stay at HAMC and receive the benefits of advice and care from Sioux Falls.

“This program provides access to a level of emergency medicine with instant collaboration with an emergency room doctor,” said Ken Reed, director of paramedics , HAMC.

Reed wrote the grant to help pay for the new technology. The grant funded by the Leona Helmsley Foundation is to be distributed over three years.

Rugby works with nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants as well as doctors, all who work for the benefit of the patient in collaboration on the challenging medical problems that sometimes occur in the ER or ICU.

The eEmergency program is an extra help needed by rural hospitals who face doctor shortages, staff shortages, and the other challenges that go with practicing medicine in more remote areas. The program links two-way video equipment in local rural emergency rooms to emergency-trained physicians and specialists at a central hub, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

A large screened computer with a camera attached can provide specialists in Sioux Falls with a close examination of the patient and all the information gathered at the rural facility. An emergency room physician can zoom in on an area on the patient to such an extent that the pores in the hand can be seen in Sioux Falls via computer. Jill Johnson and Lisa Lindgren, nurses at Avera Health, Sioux Falls, were in Rugby on Tuesday, November 22 to instruct the HAMC nursing staff on the use of the new equipment which is already operational in the ICU. The equipment for this service will be operational in the Rugby ER by the end of next week.

This program will reduce care delays caused by inclement weather. Patients can stay right where they are and be treated by their home physicians with the help of access to specialists for treatment. The ER physician in Sioux Falls can give orders for diagnostic tests before the physician arrives. ER nurses can help with charting for nurses that are already busy with other patients. ER staff from the program can help when there are several patients as a result of an accident, etc. The physician in Sioux Falls can guide a nurse through an emergency procedure on one patient while a doctor works on another patient. The benefits of the program are endless.

When the hospital and clinic are trying to recruit doctors to Rugby, it will help if they know they have state of the art equipment to help them in the rural setting.

Some doctor candidates ask if the hospital has Telemedical capability before they will even consider coming here.

“The Leona Helmsley Foundation has been very good to HAMC as evidenced by our digital mammography equipment and now this additional equipment to our emergency department,” said Paul Schaan, director, GSHS Foundation.

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