Telemedicine: Expanding Specialty Care to Rural Hospitals
Special Projects Fund
November 16, 2006
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Patients who live in rural areas may be unable to get timely, high-quality medical care when they experience an acute medical crisis.
To address this issue, Bassett Healthcare (Bassett) explored and developed the use of telemedicine across its system of care in central upstate New York. Bassett developed a Telestroke initiative to enable suspected stroke patients in rural areas distant from the Stroke Center at Bassett’s central facility in Cooperstown to receive specialty consultation without having to be brought there.
Web-based telemedicine provides services to patients and communities that do not have ready access to specialty care. This grant to Bassett Healthcare will expand a groundbreaking program using Web-based technology to improve assessment and treatment of stroke and cardiac patients in rural areas. Grant funds support remote diagnosis and evaluation of patients.
Major program activities include: (1) implementation of the Telestroke Initiative at four affiliated hospitals by the first quarter of 2007; (2) expansion of telemedicine capabilities to incorporate cardiac evaluations and assessment of trauma in the four affiliated hospitals; (3) Web-based home evaluations of cardiac patients with congestive heart failure; (4) expansion of the stroke, cardiac, and trauma telemedicine programs to additional hospitals by the end of 2007; and (5) expansion of clinical consultative services in the inpatient unit, ICU, and other sites in the affiliated hospitals by mid-2008.
Bassett Healthcare is a regional health system of four hospitals and 23 community health centers serving residents of an eight-county region in central New York.