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OSU TeleHealth Solution connecting rural hospitals to physician specialists during COVID-19 emergency
May 4, 2020
TULSA— OSU Medicine is substantially increasing its telemedicine capability this week to aid rural hospitals and communities as part of Oklahoma’s COVID-19 Task Force response. OSU’s TeleHealth Solution technology was released to 10 new rural hospitals this week with plans to serve 30 Oklahoma markets by early June.
“Telemedicine is ideal for rural hospitals in the midst of our COVID-19 pandemic, providing them access to innovative technology, high-quality clinical expertise, and health care delivery modalities that allow patients to receive enhanced hospital care and treatment in the comfort of their local community. Additionally, when rural hospitals are able to treat more patients close to home, urban medical centers can increase their capacity to handle the most complicated patients,” said Rhett Stover, chief executive officer of OSU Medicine in Tulsa. “The OSU TeleHealth Solution technology and service platform brings the expertise of highly-trained physicians right to the patient’s bedside. All OSU TeleHealth Solution physicians are adjunct faculty members of the OSU Center for Health Sciences and are available 24/7.”
The targeted hospitals for this program are all designated Critical Access and Sole Community Provider Hospitals, meaning they must be in rural areas located more than 35 miles from any other hospital, have fewer than 25 patient beds and provide an active emergency department.
The process activates when nurses in partner communities engage the OSU Telehealth Solution service at the patient’s bedside, often during an urgent medical need situation, typically in the emergency room. The hospital nurse uses the telemedicine technology to monitor the patient’s electrocardiogram (EKG), vital signs and other electronic assessments, which are digitally transmitted to the distant physician who then assesses the patient’s condition and makes treatment recommendations. The telemedicine physician can follow the patient upon admission to coordinate and manage their care until they are released from the hospital.
"The recent rapid adoption of telemedicine services, accelerated by our nation’s COVID-19 emergency response measures, has created additional access to care in order to accommodate corresponding increases in patient demand for health care services across all health care communities."