Technology Helps Emergency Room Patients in Small CommunitiesMay 27, 2014
Emergency rooms in smaller communities don’t always have access to resources that their counterparts in larger hospitals do. As a result, some patients are required to be transferred to get the care they need. Dr. Marc Breen tells us how Community Hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado is going use technology to solve that problem.
Interviewer: When you're an emergency room physician at a small hospital, sometimes it can be difficult to have all the resources you need to treat some of your more difficult cases. Find out what a hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado did to offer better care to their emergency room patients, next on The Scope.
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Interviewer: Dr. Breen would you please tell me about community hospitals affiliation with the University of Utah's hospital and clinics and how that's going to help you offer better care to your patients in the emergency room.
Dr. Breen: We have several hospitals in town; however, even the largest of the hospitals in town doesn't offer all services that every patient may need. And so in those cases, it's nice to have an affiliation with a larger facility, a larger hospital network that could help, essentially, extend the services that we can offer to our patients here in the Grand Valley.
Interviewer: So what are some of those opportunities that you're most excited about?
Dr. Breen: In the emergency department we're talking about expanding the role of telemedicine with burn services, with stroke services, with neurology services, just so that way we have the specialist physician on the other line that can concurrently do evaluations and help manage those patients and begin that connection with getting our patients the care they need.
Interviewer: Do teleservices reduce the amount of transfers that need to be done?
Dr. Breen: They can potentially, you know there are a lot of cases, I think burns especially, we see so many patients that have burns that come through the emergency department. The vast majority of patients, however, all it would need is just, basically, a surgeon that would take a look at it and say, I agree, we need to do the same thing you're going to do anyways.
I think at this point it's just a matter of trying to bring more specialized care into our backyards. We have a lot of patients that, it's hard when you have to transfer a patient to either the front range, or to the Salt Lake area, that puts an undue burden on the patients that we have and it's hard not just for that patient, but it's hard for the patient's family, it's hard for the patient's employer, it's hard for the community. And so, the more patients that we can get the care they need here locally, I think that that's going to help in the long run, everyone.
Interviewer: As a healer, is this exciting for you, these extra resources?
Dr. Breen: In a lot of places in America we have limited health care. I think that when you're in an urban setting you're used to having all the care that you need at your fingertips, at the same site that you live in, a lot of times even blocks down from your house.
The problem is is the majority of America doesn't live in those places and so when that happens, especially in more rural areas, and even, you know with 155,000 patients in the Grand Valley, we still don't have unlimited medical care. And so there are certain elements of care that we can't provide and so in those cases we're trying to use innovation and try to expand the service line and try to get patients better care.
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