Contact: Lynn Falcone, CEO
Cuero, Texas: Cuero Regional Hospital has broken new technological grounds with the launch of Telehealth services, particularly TeleCardiology services through a partnership with Access Physicians.
"If specialists have limited days and times to see patients at rural hospitals, the next best thing is to bring them on board remotely," said Lynn Falcone, CEO of Cuero Health. "With telehealth technology, our patients and staff can interact with a board certified cardiologist, as if the cardiologist was physically in the room with the patient."
Cuero Regional Hospital has partnered with Access Physicians, a group of physicians and a medical technology firm, to leverage real-time specialist consultations to increase quality of care, starting with cardiology.
Access Physicians provides a cart with a monitor and camera. The screen's resolution allows the physician to examine the patient as if he or she is onsite. Physicians from Access Physician use FDA-approved telemedicine equipment to examine patients.
Chris Gallagher, MD, AP Global president and cofounder says the services most in demand at rural hospitals are cardiology, pulmonary and emergency-medical consultations, as well as neurology and psychiatric care.
"Using cardiologist via telemedicine gives us the ability to quickly connect the patient with a cardiologist," said Dr. Tim McFarland, Cuero Regional Hospital ER physician and hospitalist. "These instant connections allow us to have conversations immediately with a cardiologist looking at the patient, the lab, the EKG, and other tests. Patients are more satisfied. This service helps us keep patients in our hospitals without having to transfer or wait for a consult. I have been impressed with the cardiologists' skill set, credentials, bedside manner, and high level of care. TeleCardiology has elevated the level of care in our community," said McFarland.
"Having telemedicine has allowed our hospital to keep several cases that in the past may have been transferred to another facility and allows convenient patient access," said Falcone. "In the coming months, we plan to launch telehealth psychiatric services."
Only about 10 percent of physicians practice in rural America despite the fact that it contains nearly one-quarter of the U.S. population. Texas rural hospitals provide access to routine and emergency health care for 15 percent of the state's population, but cover 85 percent of the state's geography, according to the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals. Rural areas have about 40 specialists per 100,000 residents, compared with 134 per 100,000 in urban areas. The more highly specialized the physician, the less likely he or she will settle in a rural area.
"Given the challenges rural hospitals face when recruiting specialists, telehealth medicine is a fantastic solution. It delivers the high level of compassionate and quality care that we want to provide our patients in the comfort of their room rather having to travel to see a specialists and/or waiting days to see a specialist," Falcone said.
"As the ICU director and a working RN, telemedicine cardiology has brought hope to our rural ICU," said Jennifer Janssen, Cuero Regional Hospital ICU Director. "It has given us access to timely care with specialists and created a convenient, easily accessible patient care option for cardiology. It has given our current physicians the opportunity to practice with a cardiologist specialist supporting them directly. Dr. Gallagher with Access Physicians has always been available for questions and checks in every morning with staff. He always thoroughly explains diagnosis to patients and any orders to my staff members. This practice meets the demands of our community and helps keep our patients here to receive exceptional care."
A live demo of this new service will be held on February 14 at noon at CRH's Education Classroom. A light lunch will be served and RSVP is required to attend. To attend, please call 361.894.5112. Limited seating available.
Cuero Regional Hospital is located at 2550 N. Esplanade in Cuero, Texas and offers an ED- Level IV Trauma Center, on-staff General Surgeon, and a Tele Stroke and Tele Cardiology program. For more information, please visit www.cuerohospital.org or call 361.275.6191. Follow Cuero Regional Hospital on Facebook for the latest updates.