Telemedicine technology gives SCBH staff near instant access to ER doctors

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Last week, the Swift County-Benson Hosptial received training in how the Avera telemedicine system works. Pictured is SCHB RN Katie Guse, and Avera’s Molly Johnson, RN Avera E-Care, who works in e-hub and the ER in Sioux Falls.
Director of Nursing Mellissa McGinty-Thomspon explains how the telemedicine system works. Pictured are SCBH Governing Board Vice Chair Patty Schreck and CFO Dan Enderson. The governing board received the demonstration during its meeting Monday night.

Swift County-Benson Hospital is now live with its telemedicine link to Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center’s eCare services in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Last Tuesday, the hospital conducted training for all its medical providers and nursing staff on how the system works, SCBH Director of Nursing Mellissa McGinty-Thompson told the governing board at its meeting Monday night. Hospital governing board members got a demonstration on how the system works during the meeting.

Last September, SCBH was notified that it had been awarded a $510,000 Helmsley grant to facilitate implementing the telemedicine service. Since then, cameras, microphones and screens have been mounted in its emergency room and its intensive care unit, which serves as its trauma 3 bed.

Avera’s eEmergency service provides two-way video equipment linking local staff to trained emergency room physicians and specialists at a central hub in Sioux Falls. The service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It only takes a push of a button on the wall in the ER and within 45 seconds SCBH medical personnel will have direct visual contact with staff at Avera’s eEmergency hub.

There are 16 ER board certified physicians who work at the e-hub facility. They work 50 percent of the time in the e-hub doing telemedicine and 50 percent of their time is in the ER at Avera-McKennan Hospital. The physicians that McGinty-Thompson has talked with say they actually see more patients through the e-emergency service than they do in the ER at the Sioux Falls hospital.

The center averages two codes a day, situations in which a patient has arrested and needs to be revived. There are an average of 16 emergency room calls a day they are involved in.

The first 30 days of e-Emergency service at SCBH will be on an all-call basis, she explained. “So, regardless of what the patient comes in for, if they come into one of the cameraed rooms, we are to initiate the button,” McGinty-Thompson said.

The cameras in the rooms are strong enough to zoom in on the pupils of a patient’s eyes as well as focus on monitors taking a patient’s vital signs.

 

Pictured, top: Last week, the Swift County-Benson Hosptial received training in how the Avera telemedicine system works. Pictured is SCHB RN Katie Guse, and Avera’s Molly Johnson, RN Avera E-Care, who works in e-hub and the ER in Sioux Falls.

Bottom: Director of Nursing Mellissa McGinty-Thomspon explains how the telemedicine system works. Pictured are SCBH Governing Board Vice Chair Patty Schreck and CFO Dan Enderson. The governing board received the demonstration during its meeting Monday night.

 

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