Technology has improved many aspects of life including the way healthcare is delivered. Clinical telemedicine, for example, uses interactive video, audio and a secure, high-speed internet-based connection to link a patient at a Gundersen Moundview Hospital and Clinics location to specialists at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse or Onalaska – in real time.
"Clinical telemedicine gives patients easier, timelier access to Gundersen specialty care. This is particularly beneficial for patients who are ill; who have children, work and school schedules to deal with; or when weather and transportation are issues," explains Jessica Miller, program manager of Gundersen Regional Services and Telemedicine.
Gundersen specialists act as a consultant in collaboration with the patient's primary healthcare provider. Clinical telemedicine can be used for exams, post-operative follow-up, to monitor ongoing treatments, to interpret diagnostic tests, and to discuss prognosis and treatments options.
The telemedicine unit is equipped with a room camera and handheld patient exam camera. The cameras deliver high-definition clarity and offer elements such as a zoom feature for close-up views of areas of clinical interest. The unit also has a stethoscope so while the nurse or medical assistant in Friendship listens to the patient's heart or lung sounds, the specialist in La Crosse or Onalaska hears the same thing. There is also a view screen so the patient is able to see and talk with the specialist.
"One of the greatest challenges of receiving speciality care when living in a rural community is the travel required," explains Lori Wittig, director of clinical operations, Gundersen Moundview Hospital and Clinics. "A patient living in Friendship or Westfield may have to travel a total of three hours in one day for a simple 15-minute follow-up appointment with a specialist. If a driver is also needed, it impacts more than just the patient. Telemedicine is a great platform for patients to receive necessary specialty care in the community they reside, without the lengthy and costly travel burden."
A few of the services offered through telemedicine at Gundersen Moundview include Endocrinology-Diabetes care, general surgery consultations, Nephrology, Medical Oncology, Infectious Disease, Orthopedic Surgery, Palliative Care, Pediatric Cardiology and Pediatric Gastroenterology.
In addition, Gundersen Moundview's Emergency Department is equipped with telemedicine services to allow Emergency physicians to consult with Gundersen specialists for Neonatal Intensive Care of a newborn, a child who is in critical condition or a patient who is showing symptoms of a stroke.
For more information, talk with your primary care provider or contact the Gundersen Moundview location nearest you.
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