Health IT

8 telemedicine specialty areas Mercy Health’s upcoming center will serve

The move by Mercy Health to open a telemedicine hub is an exciting development and offers a preview of what the future of healthcare technology will look like. It also will be useful as an educational resource for physicians and hospitals that want to learn about different approaches to telemedicine. My initial take on the […]

The move by Mercy Health to open a telemedicine hub is an exciting development and offers a preview of what the future of healthcare technology will look like. It also will be useful as an educational resource for physicians and hospitals that want to learn about different approaches to telemedicine. My initial take on the images Mercy Health distributed as part of the groundbreaking this week is that it resembles a combination of The Matrix and Mission Control.

It also demonstrates how physicians and nurses are meeting the challenge of serving their entire patient population through the diverse applications for telemedicine. Here’s an overview of some of the telemedicine services that will be housed at the center.

Tele ICU: A shortage of intensivists has led to the expansion of tele ICU to help hospitals who do not have full-time physicians in this area. Doctors and nurses serve as critical-care specialists who monitor ICU patients 24 hours. They identify abnormalities, uncover potential problems and assist with care when a patient’s attending physician is not in the ICU. Some hospitals in other areas rely on these roles for overnight cover. Specialists remotely monitor more than 450 beds in 25 intensive care units across a five-state region.

Telestroke: For community emergency rooms without a neurologist on staff, having a hub that can serve as a command center for stroke patients offers the potential to help patients experiencing stroke get diagnosed faster. Patients who come to the ER with symptoms of a stroke can be seen immediately by not only an emergency room doctor, but by telestroke neurologists who are on call and available day or night via telemedicine to help diagnose the patient and order lifesaving stroke medication if necessary.

Pediatric Telecardiology: To spare families the expense and inconvenience of driving vast distances to a healthcare facility, the service is designed to produce and analyze results of a echocardiograms within 24 hours.

Telesepsis: With the increased hospitalization costs associated with sepsis, health systems are looking for more effective ways to spot potential red flags earlier. Mercy’s electronic health record searches for more than 800 warning signs to identify patients at risk for sepsis. It alerts doctors, so they can take the right action to prevent it.

Teleradiology: This is probably the most established segment of the telemedicine industry. A remote radiology medical team offers support to radiology groups to minimize turnaround times.

Telepathology: Available at all hours, an online pathology medical team can quickly provide general and specific diagnostic services.

Nurse-on-call: Experienced registered nurses provide 24/7 health advice with this nationwide telephone triage service.

Home Monitoring: Mercy provides continuous monitoring for more than 1,000 patients diagnosed with congestive heart failure, reducing hospitalization and readmissions, as well as helping them live independently for longer.