At NRHA conference, Eagle will share how nighttime telehospitalist care reduces costs while improving response time for treating current patients and admitting new ones

KANSAS CITY, MO—Sept. 21, 2016—Telemedicine has helped rural hospitals increase patient census and avoid transfers. Telemedicine is also proving particularly successful in addressing staffing gaps at rural hospitals, and solving their night coverage challenges. Eagle Telemedicine will share success stories and best practices with attendees at the National Rural Hospital Association’s 15th Critical Access Hospital Conference Sept. 21-23, 2016, in Kansas City.

Eagle Telemedicine representatives will be at Booth #103 throughout the conference. An NRHA Gold Partner, Eagle invites attendees to visit and register for a raffle for a free iPad mini 4.

“Cost savings are significant when hospitals aren’t paying ‘full freight’ for one physician, but sharing those costs with other facilities that use the same telemedicine services for nighttime care,” said Dr. Talbot “Mac” McCormick, President and CEO of Eagle, a physician-led hospitalist management firm providing turnkey programs, Clinical Performance Management (CPM) solutions, and telemedicine services.

Results are impressive

Rural hospitals working with Eagle have achieved:

  • Up to 40% savings on nighttime coverage
  • 50% increase in nighttime admissions
  • An average response time of 1 minutes and 9 seconds from the time nurses call telehospitalists to the time the physician is interacting remotely with patients

Though telemedicine can include many types of electronic communication, Eagle’s approach uses a cart or robot on wheels with a two-way videoconferencing monitor that brings a patient face-to-face with a physician, who is “beamed in” from a remote location. The physician and patient have direct interaction, and the technology enables the physician to monitor the patient remotely with a stethoscope, otoscope,and blood pressure gauge. It can also transmit still images such as photos and X-rays for interpretation by the physician.

Bringing the doctor to the patient

“Telemedicine’s purpose is not to take over or supplant person-to-person physician care. Rather, its most important value is to augment and support physicians and clinical staff. It can be a cost-effective solution in circumstances where physician resources are scarce, and healthcare needs to be administered quickly,” Dr. McCormick said.

Typically, one remote physician is involved each night from a pool of two or three physicians who are assigned to a particular hospital. The telehospitalist will take patient handoffs from the daytime providers of care, whether an NP, PA or physician. If a patient has a change at any time during the night, the telehospitalist stands ready to respond to rapid responses and codes, and to admit new patients from the ED as necessary.

Especially in rural hospitals, lower admission rates at night often do not warrant a full-time nocturnist, so day-time physicians must work nights or split shifts. “It’s not an ideal solution,” Dr. McCormick said. “We look forward to sharing with NRHA conference attendees how telemedicine contributes to a sustainable work schedule and stable staffing for hospitals that struggle with night staffing.”