What is telemedicine?
Telemedicine uses technology such as two-way video, email, wireless phones and other forms of telecommunication to link patients with the medical care they need, regardless of their physical location.
Over the past 40 years, telemedicine has gradually transformed the way health care is delivered, particularly to patients in rural and underserved communities. PeaceHealth Oregon and Sacred Heart Medical Center along with our partnering organizations are harnessing the technology to increase patient access to vital medical services, as demonstrated by our participation in the Oregon Health Network.
Benefits of Telemedicine
Telemedicine improves the quality of care we provide to patients and families by:
- Facilitating access to health care closer to home
- Allowing immediate access to specialists during emergency situations, such as stroke, and faster access to specialists than through traditional office visits
- Eliminating the need to travel long distances for specialty care or follow-up visits
- Improving continuity of care through streamlined communication between providers
- Allowing physicians to care for more patients in shorter time frames than a typical in-person appointment
- Providing cost savings to both patients and the health care system
Patient feedback has been overwhelmingly positive in surveys, with the majority of patients indicating no difference in the quality of medical care they received. Patients appreciate the convenience of receiving services more quickly without compromising the quality of their visit.
Our telestroke program links the Emergency Department at Peace Harbor Hospital in Florence with Sacred Heart at RiverBend's Certified Stroke Center expertise, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
A PeaceHealth Behavioral Health psychiatrist provides adult outpatient telepsychiatry consultations for primary care patients of PeaceHealth Medical Group - Florence.
Behavioral Health specialists at Sacred Heart, University District provide live, interactive video crisis evaluations for patients in the Emergency Departments at Sacred Heart at RiverBend as well as Peace Harbor Hospital in Florence.
Pediatric patients at PeaceHealth Oregon facilities not only have access to our highly trained specialists; they also have a direct connection to pediatric intensivists and other experts at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. Telemedicine technology also facilitates consultations between the Emergency Department at Cottage Grove Community Hospital and pediatricians at Sacred Heart at RiverBend.
Telemedicine technology is used to provide interpretive services to patients who are not proficient in the English language. More than 40 patient care sites in Lane County use this service, which has provided tele-interpretive services encounters thousands of times.
Specialists at the Oregon Bariatric Center at Sacred Heart at RiverBend use telemedicine technology to communicate with patients at its satellite clinic in Roseburg. Case coordinators provide remote financial planning, insurance coordination and program navigation resources. Services also include remote nutrition and behavioral support visits with a registered dietitian and psychologist.
Remote Access to Continuing Medical Education
PeaceHealth is using telemedicine technology to expand access to our continuing medical education offerings, including case conferences and, soon, tumor boards. The program allows doctors to participate remotely in patient care planning and case review.