MARYVILLE, MO (Sep 26, 2018) – Faced with a growing shortage of physicians, rural hospitals nationwide are using telemedicine to ensure consistent physician coverage, and now SSM Health St. Francis Hospital is the latest hospital to employ the innovative program to provide nighttime hospitalist coverage.
On September 10, telemedicine was utilized for hospitalist coverage from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. at the hospital. In the new program, a robot on a rolling stand is equipped with diagnostic equipment, as well as a videoconferencing monitor and camera that enable physicians from remote locations to communicate directly, face to face, with patients and staff. The robot can securely access a patient’s electronic medical record, imaging and lab results.
Working behind the scenes is a cloud-based telehealth network that enables the connection between patient and staff member, and a small team of telemedicine physicians specifically assigned to St. Francis. In this way, the physicians get to know the staff at the hospital, and build the working partnership required for top-quality care.
“We are pleased to bring the benefits of telemedicine to our patients,” said Mike Baumgartner, hospital president. “This new program will improve our ability to continue providing excellent patient care. The team of telemedicine physicians we are working with are partners who collaborate with our own doctors and provide guidance and expertise to nurses and other clinical staff.”
The telemedicine program is made possible through a partnership between St. Francis and Eagle Telemedicine, an Atlanta-based provider that is a pioneer in the field.
“We are delighted to welcome SSM Health St. Francis Hospital 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.”
Leading the Eagle team is Dr. Jane Lee, a seasoned hospitalist board-certified in Internal Medicine, who provides telemedicine services to hospitals across the U.S. through Eagle Telemedicine. She and other physicians in the Eagle program will work closely with day-time hospitalists and other clinical staff as an integral part of the healthcare team.
For more information on the nighttime tele-hospitalist coverage, contact the Community Relations and Development office at St. Francis at (660) 562-7933.