THOMAS, W.Va. – Cortland Acres and Davis Memorial Hospital are partnering on a new telemedicine initiative that uses state-of-the-art technology to improve patient outcomes while also reducing health care expenses.
The collaboration, unique in West Virginia, allows physicians at Davis Memorial Hospital to use iPads to evaluate Cortland residents with real-time video and audio. The system already is active thanks to the support of the Davis Health System Foundation and Cortland Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced a grant of $74,189 to connect not only Cortland but two other long-term care facilities in the Davis Memorial Hospital service area.
“This is a very exciting development, and I want to thank all of those at Cortland and Davis Memorial who have made it possible,” Cortland Administrator Beth Clevenger said. “Most important, of course, is that this new technology will help our residents. Our nursing staff can connect with physicians at Davis Memorial to conduct virtual examinations using durable iPads. The use of video displays and electronic stethoscopes will help doctors determine whether the patient can be treated in-house or whether a trip to the hospital is necessary.”
Pam Smithson, RN and director of clinical programs for Davis Memorial Hospital, spearheaded the effort. She works closely with Dr. Steven Toney, MD, who works with Cortland Medical Director Dr. Margaret Kasier to coordinate health care for Cortland’s residents and rehabilitation patients.
“While I arrange a couple of days per month to spend at the rural long-term care and skilled nursing facilities in the area, there are days when I cannot make it due to weather or if there is an emergency,” Dr. Toney said. “This type of health care initiative is vital to help physicians improve patient outcomes and increase quality of care for our patients.”
The growing cost of medical care and gaps in coverage are creating enormous pressure on providers to identify new strategies for delivering cost-effective and quality care to all citizens. Telemedicine uses a web-based system that makes it possible for physicians to perform examinations, diagnose or prescribe treatments for patients even though the physicians and patients are located in separate areas.
Clevenger said she’s pleased to have Cortland be on the leading edge of health care delivery to rural West Virginia residents.
“Over the past 35 years we have taken pride in our dedication to providing outstanding care for our residents, and that includes the use of new technology when available and appropriate,” Clevenger said. “This is a great example of two health care organizations working together to improve overall outcomes for everyone.”
Cortland Acres includes a 94-bed long-term care facility, in- and outpatient physical therapy and rehabilitation, Pineview Apartments and The Pines duplexes. For more information call 304-463-4181 or visit www.cortlandacres.org.