Hospital to Start Testing Tele-Medicine Equipment

tcTo allow more time to be sure everything works well, the South Lyon Medical Center is delaying implementation of its new tele-medicine program until after testing next month.

Kim Crandell, administrator/CEO of SLMC, told the South Lyon County Hospital District Board of Trustees at its Aug. 22 meeting that the use of the tele-medicine cart equipment on actual patients wouldn’t occur until September.

As part of that meeting, the board approved the expenditure of up to $15,000 to purchase ultrasound equipment for use with the tele-medicine equipment.

Crandell said it looks like a laptop computer with probes that physicians here can use, and that will be read by physicians at Renown Medical Center, the local hospital’s partner in the tele-medicine effort, will be used.

Crandell said the hospital is still waiting to complete the connectivity between Lyon County and the SLMC.

The hospital is partnering with the county to use some of the county’s excess bandwidth for the electronic communications used in the tele-medicine system, including a microwave dish on top of a pole in the hospital parking lot.

In addition, Crandell said the SLMC is also upgrading some T-1 lines for the system, so those technical steps must be completed before testing.

He also noted the ultrasound and tele-medicine cart can be moved easily, sometimes in the emergency room and also in physicians’ offices and treatment rooms in the clinics, and it is equipped with a battery and WiFi capabilities.

The administrator said they plan to start testing the equipment in September, to be sure if is working as it should from a technical standpoint, and before they use it on an actual patient.

The tele-medicine cart includes a stethoscope, ultrasound and a camera with different attachments and two screens that allow a physician at another site to view information from the patient, as the data from those instruments is sent electronically from the SLMC to another site.

The distant physician or specialist can even manipulate the camera and attachments to better view what he needs to see to help with diagnosing the patient, Crandell said.

They also allow for two-way communication between the two sites.

Regarding the ultrasound, Crandell noted now a stenographer is only at the SLMC once a week, so this would enhance that service as a diagnostic tool.

Crandell explained a major reason for the tele-medicine is to reduce the number of transports needed, and to allow the local hospital to provide many more services to its customers here.

“There are a lot of opportunities for us,” he said, noting the SLMC will be a leader of sorts among rural hospitals in Northern Nevada.

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