Broad ap­peal

Modern Healthcare - - Opinions Letters -

Speak­ing on be­half of in­de­pen­dent hos­pi­tals that serve ru­ral pa­tients, Fed­eral Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion ac­tion that will in­crease ru­ral ac­cess to broad­band ser­vices is wel­come news (“FCC seeks to fur­ther boost ru­ral broad­band,” Daily Dose, July 15). As our coun­try faces es­ca­lat­ing spe­cialty physi­cian short­ages, ru­ral ar­eas can find them­selves hard­est hit. Bring­ing broad­band to these ar­eas al­lows for in­no­va­tive telemedicine so­lu­tions.

Three years ago, seven in­de­pen­dent Mary­land hos­pi­tals came to­gether to bring our ru­ral pa­tients med­i­cal ex­per­tise through broad­band. Work­ing to­gether as Mary­land eCare, we brought telemedicine to our in­ten­sive-care units. A re­mote, crit­i­cal-care team more than a hun­dred miles away pro­vides sup­ple­men­tal, spe­cial­ized care and al­le­vi­ates the stress placed on our crit­i­cal-care staff work­ing in the ICU.

Mary­land eCare con­nects physi­cians, nurses and pa­tients via voice, cam­era and data feeds, en­abling our hos­pi­tals to pro­vide the high­est level of spe­cial­ized care around the clock. So­phis­ti­cated soft­ware closely mon­i­tors pa­tients for evolv­ing trends and ab­nor­mal­i­ties fos­ter­ing proac­tive care.

It gives our out­stand­ing physi­cians and nurses needed sup­port, and al­lows some of our sick­est pa­tients who pre­vi­ously re­quired trans­fer to stay close to home where fam­ily can visit eas­ily. Thomas Lawrence

Physi­cian Mary­land eCare Sal­is­bury, Md.

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