Collaborative effort will lower costs, increase revenues for rural INTEGRIS Bass Baptist Health Center; proven program helps stroke patients gain immediate access to specialized care
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK—Nov. 4, 2015—A rural Oklahoma hospital on the edge of the Great Plains might seem like a remote place, but the nation’s finest neurologists are “beamed in” via two-way videoconferencing to treat stroke and other acute neurology patients thereon a regular basis.
INTEGRIS Bass Baptist Health Center in Enid, OK, has immediate access to the best neurologists in the country through Eagle Telemedicine, a teleneurology program that is also helping rural hospitals in Illinois, Kansas, Wisconsin and other states. More information about the program will be available at Eagle Telemedicine Booth #108 at the 96th Oklahoma Hospital Association Annual Meeting Nov. 4-6 in Oklahoma City.
“Imagine being two hours from Oklahoma City but getting an expert neurology physician to do a virtual house call,” said Herb Rogove, DO, FCCM, FACP, Eagle physician leader in telemedicine. “Wherever they are, our physicians can respond within 15 minutes to any patient suffering a stroke or seizure at INTEGRIS Bass, do a diagnosis, prescribe a thrombolytic drug or other medication, and determine the most appropriate level of treatment.”
Collaborative effort makes it possible
The teleneurologyprogram at INTEGRIS Bass is part of an initiative by two firms that specialize in various aspects of telemedicine:
- Atlanta-based Eagle Telemedicine, which manages inpatient telemedicine practices for hospitals across the country and a division of Eagle Hospital Physicians, a hospitalist management company
- InTouch Health, a Santa-Barbara, CA-based firm that provides the remote patient monitoring technology network
CFO is impressed
INTEGRIS Bass’ Vice President and CFO Duane C. Miller became an advocate of the Eagle Telemedicine program when he saw the reduction of locum support costs for neurology and the reduction in patient transfers for the facility. “Conservatively, it is anticipated that access to teleneurology services will provide in excess of a $200,000 reduction in locum support costs annually and additional revenues in excess of $55,000 a year,” he said. He added that the program has been strongly embraced by patients and staff. “To me that is the acid test.”
Average response time of 3.5 minutes
The Eagle teleneurologists have an impressive track record: an average response time of 3.5 minutes, an average diagnosis and treatment time of 21.8 minutes, a 40% decrease in time from emergency department arrival to discharge, and a 1 to 1.2-daydecrease in hospital Average Length of Stay (ALOS) for stroke patients.The program also delivers revenue increases to hospitals by helping them retain acute neurology and stroke patients who would otherwise be transferred to get the specialized care they need.
Patient response positive
In his eight years of involvement in teleneurology, Dr. Rogove has only had one patient who didn’t want to be treated via videoconference. “Nowadays, most everyone has accepted it and doctors are able to establish a great rapport,” he said. “In just minutes, the patients start interacting with them as if they are in the same room.
”A board member of the American Telemedicine Association, Dr. Rogove said that 30 states,including Oklahoma, have a telemedicine parity law, meaning that commercial insurers pay for a telemedicine consultation as if it were a regular physician visit.
Pioneers in telemedicine
A pioneer in inpatient telemedicine, Eagle Telemedicine is an independent, physician-led company that develops and manages inpatient telemedicine practices for hospitals. The company has spent more than five years perfecting its telemedicine service models of care and tailoring them to specific settings such as rural hospitals,where telemedicine can bring specialized care that would otherwise be unavailable.
Benefits to rural hospitals include:
- Provision of care to patients in their home communities
- Around-the-clock access to expertise
- Improved quality of care
- Reduced unnecessary transfers of stroke/acute neuro patients
- Increased admissions and revenue
“Telemedicine is most effective when applied where physician resources are scarce and patient care is time sensitive,” said Talbot “Mac” McCormick, MD, President and CEO of Eagle. “And it is providing hope to rural hospitals in an era when closure is a very real possibility unless new models of care are deployed.We look forward to sharing information about our new services and successes with attendees at the OHA conference.”