Duluth, Aurora hospitals link upWhen patients suffering from heart attacks are rushed to the emergency department at Essentia Health-Northern Pines, they can be seen by caregivers in Aurora and Duluth without having to leave their hospital gurney.
When patients suffering from heart attacks are rushed to the emergency department at Essentia Health-Northern Pines, they can be seen by caregivers in Aurora and Duluth without having to leave their hospital gurney.
This high-tech connection is made possible by a new telemedicine program at Essentia Health. It links providers in Aurora with specialists at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth.
Thanks to cameras, microphones and a secure network connection, caregivers at both locations are able to talk with each other and the patient as if they were all in the same room. The program started in the Northern Pines Emergency Department in January.
“Telemedicine in the ER is beneficial to patients because we are able to collaborate with the emergency room specialists in Duluth directly and they actually have eyes on the patient at the same time that we do,” explains Dr. Michelle Oman, an Essentia Health physician based in Aurora. “The St. Mary’s physicians can help us through procedures and processes, and they’ll be ready to accept the patient if we are transferring them to Duluth.”
A different program, which began in February, allows healthcare providers caring for hospitalized patients in Aurora to consult with an Internal Medicine physician and hospitalist in Duluth. The physician not only sees and speaks to patients but can even listen to their hearts and lungs using a special digital stethoscope.
Dr. Oman says the telemedicine programs are part of a larger effort to make high-quality health care sustainable in rural communities.
“Physician recruitment in smaller communities is very difficult and rural areas nationwide can benefit from telemedicine,” says Dr. Oman. “These emergency room projects give us the ability to have additional services available to our patients.”