New technology at hospital ER allows for remote stroke exam
Every day more and more people are looking at Grand County as their retirement destination. Health care is a major factor in their decision whether to join our community. They are particularly concerned about stroke treatment. Consider a recent e-mail inquiry I received:
“My wife and I are considering retiring in Grand County but we want to make sure you are able to handle strokes and other possible emergencies,” the e-mail read. The gentleman explained that he had already suffered one stroke and he and his wife are concerned about what will happen if he suffers another.
“How are strokes handled?” he asked.
As is the case with most small, rural hospitals, KMHD does not have neurologists available 24/7 ” until now. A new audio and visual technology program known as Colorado Digital Online Consultant, (CO-DOC) was recently adopted at the hospital emergency room in Kremmling allowing for a board-certified neurologist to be present in a “virtual” sense.
This program utilizes a high-tech, two-way camera system that allows the ER physician in Kremmling to connect with a neurologist at Blue Sky Neurology or Swedish Medical Center in Englewood.
The neurologist can remotely operate the camera in the emergency room and zoom in to clearly see and interact with the patient. The neurologists from afar can begin to determine whether the patient is experiencing signs or symptoms of stroke.
The neurologist can even ask the possible stroke patient questions in real-time to further examine the situation. Treatment recommendations can then be made.
“When a patient suffers a stroke, time is absolutely critical,” said Dr. Chris Fanale, the Medical Director for CO-DOC and board-certified neurologist. “This technology makes it so I’m almost literally in the room at the bedside of the patient. I can now ‘be’ at a hospital 100 miles away in a matter of minutes ” overcoming the hurdles of time and distance that can mean life or death for some people.”
Nine regional hospitals are part of the network including: Vail Valley Medical Center; Yuma District Hospital; Southeast Colorado Hospital in Springfield; Mt. San Rafael Hospital in Trinidad; Swedish Medical Center in Englewood; Gunnison Valley Hospital; Southwest Memorial Hospital in Cortez and North Suburban Medical Center in Thornton.
Kremmling Memorial Hospital is the most recent to join.
To provide more understanding of this technology and the signs and symptoms of stroke, the community is invited to attend a special event at Cliffview Assisted Living Center in Kremmling from 6-7:30 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free. Attendees will be able to watch a live demonstration take place in the hospital emergency room while connected on-line to Swedish Medical Center. Those interested in local health care services and particularly stroke awareness and related available technology are sure to benefit.
For more information contact Heather Bentler, emergency room/trauma coordinator at 724-3442.
Dr. Fanale will be participating and explaining the process along with Kremmling Memorial Hospital physicians and nurses. Corey Baldwin, CO-DOC Telemedicine Project Manager, will be present to answer questions regarding the technology itself and the program.
The goal of CO-DOC is to harness the power of the latest technology and deliver advanced stroke expertise to support outlying hospitals and save the lives of countless stroke patients. A goal of Kremmling Memorial Hospital is to provide the best, up-to-date technology and services to the community as possible.
The CO-DOC Telemedicine/Kremmling Memorial Hospital collaboration is yet another effort of your local hospital to bring health care access, technology and services to Grand County.
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