News Feature | March 19, 2015

Telemedicine Connects Hospital With Stroke Experts

By Karla Paris

Follow-up Visits Using Telehealth

Avera’s eCare uses telemedicine to stretch across a massive region that now includes South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming, and Montana.

Telemedicine is an increasingly used technology to bring healthcare resources, including specialists, to people and communities that otherwise would have difficulty accessing them. The technology has been shown to increase access to healthcare services, improve health outcomes for patients, and reduce healthcare costs.

In addition to keeping healthcare costs down for patients, health plans, and employers while improving health outcomes through better access to care, telemedicine technology enables life-saving partnerships to take place.

Avera Health, a South Dakota-based health system with 31 hospitals, operating in South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana has expanded its eCare offerings. Beyond assisting in emergency and intensive care to specialty focused areas and direct-to-consumer aspects, along with long-term care.

The Avera eCARE suite of telehealth services is an important strategy that sustains and improves access to care and services in rural facilities. Operating out of the Avera eCARE Services building, the only co-located telehealth center of its kind, this model of care delivery supports improvements in healthcare quality and patient outcomes, decreases costs related to healthcare service delivery and, improves access to healthcare services for the rural population. Using technology to eliminate geographic barriers to care, Avera eCARE supports rural facilities in the provision of evidence-based, high-quality care.

Its services significantly impact the delivery of rural healthcare including:

  • Reduction of more than 30 minutes for emergency cardiac patients seen through eEmergency.
  • Observed mortality rates 20 percent less than expected in Avera eICU CARE-monitored patients.
  • 100 percent compliance with evidence-based standards for Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) and stress ulcer prophylaxis in Avera eICU CARE-monitored patients.
  • More than 14,000 serious safety events avoided as a result of ePharmacy review.
  • 30 percent of eLTC encounters resulting in avoided transfer.
  • Access to specialized education services provided by more than 1,500 clinicians over a six-month period.
  • More than 5,900 specialist visits conducted through eConsult annually.