Shenandoah) — Shenandoah Medical Center is the latest recipient of a grant that provides emergency room staff with 24-7 access to a physician through telemedicine.
SMC officials announced Wednesday that the hospital has received a $173,000 grant from the Leona M. And Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust Rural Health Program for a new e-CARE Emergency telemedicine program.
The grant will allow SMC to acquire equipment and training to connect with emergency staff at Avera Health in Sioux Falls, South Dakota to help local providers until an on-call physician can arrive. The system places high-definition cameras and microphones in the SMC ER so that remote physicians can see and hear everything taking place in the room. They can then guide nurses and other state in patient care and also consult with in-person doctors in difficult situations.
"We are committed to delivering the best possible healthcare to our community, and this technology takes a big step toward meeting that commitment," said Matt Sells, CEO of Shenandoah Medical Center. “We really appreciate the assistance of the Helmsley Charitable Trust to make this possible."
The new system is expected to be operational in the next 6-8 weeks. The same type of technology is being used by Avera and Helmsley across several rural states to provide emergency, pharmacy and intensive care specialty access to rural hospitals.
“Our goal is to ensure that people who live in rural America have access to quality healthcare as close to home as possible,” said Walter Panzirer, trustee of the Helmsley Charitable Trust. “To achieve this, rural hospitals need to be viable and they need to have up-to-date equipment, so patients can receive essential healthcare services locally. This initiative is one of many that aims to improve healthcare access and health outcomes in our region.”