Since 2010, 50+ rural hospitals in the U.S. have closed, partly because of lack of access to care, and currently, many others suffer from considerable pressures and are financially vulnerable. Increasing access to telemedicine throughout licensed hospital emergency departments will improve all elements of care, health outcomes, and in turn, hospital sustainability.
The Tele-ER project enables emergency and specialist physicians located at hub facilities to provide emergency care consultations via video conference to patients at distal points. With appropriate medical diagnostic equipment, viewing room equipment, and the appropriate level of internet connectivity, emergency and specialist physicians otherwise not available in rural locations would be able to conduct a remote emergency care consultation via telemedicine. In addition, the major barriers leading to the inability of rural hospitals to handle ER patients efficiently, are patient access to specialists’ providers and physician availability. Tele-ER services lower these barriers by adding quality providers to constrained ERs to assess, diagnose, and treat, patients remotely in a cost effective and financially viable way while meeting the other needs of the hospital.
Using the medical diagnostic cart and its associated medical equipment, nurse practitioners providing emergency care, can access specialist physicians located at a main hub for emergency care consults via telemedicine. This Telepresence System enables physicians and nurses to assess patients via devices attached to the cart allowing opportunities to provide secondary assessment input.