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Emergency Medical Service Providers Use Telemedicine to Avert Unnecessary ER Trips and Save Healthcare Costs

With Telemedicine, Emergency Responders Skip Hospital Visit

A new pilot program, launched by the Allegheny Health Network, technology assists patients in a relatively new form of technology called telemedicine. With telemedicine and the use of Apple iPads, patients needing urgent care will connect with doctors without going to the emergency room, with the assistance of emergency medical workers.

Allegheny Health Network in Pittsburgh understands that not every patient calling 911 is dealing with a life and death emergency. AHN’s pilot program was designed to assist in situations where doctors equipped with iPads could use telemedicine to determine if patients should come to the ER for care.
MobiHealthNews reports that this program allows emergency room doctors to speak with patients before making a costly trip to the hospital. With this advance, telemedicine will help individuals by saving thousands of dollars while increasing the efficiency of hospitals and medical staff due to the reduced number of admissions.

The pilot program will allow patients in acute pain or requiring specialized care to be directed to the appropriate trauma unit in a minimal amount of time, thanks to telemedicine. Less severe cases could be handled quickly, allowing doctors and patients to make better use of their time.

A good example of this would be a diabetic person that calls the ER for assistance due to symptoms caused by low blood sugar. Rather than a trip to the ER in an ambulance, the doctor and emergency responders can determine together the appropriate course of medical action. In the case of diabetes, a glucose solution and fruit juice might be all the patient needs to feel better right away.

Robert J. McCaughan, Vice President of Pre-hospital Care Services at the Allegheny Health Network is excited about the program. He predicts that telemedicine will continue to grow and will someday become a major component in the healthcare industry, and finds the idea of pre-hospital care a great first step toward many future advances.

Richard Gibbons, the Director of the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services at the Pennsylvania Department of Health, concurs with McCaughan that telemedicine offers innumerable benefits to the field of healthcare, and is impressed with the program’s potential regarding direct in-home access to a physician.

Gibbons is not alone as more and more facilities and health departments are turning to telemedicine to provide the best and most effective care. Through telemedicine, the field of health care, and even more particularly, emergency treatment, great progress is being observed in patient care standards.