Without ever leaving Fairfield Medical Center, children and newborns will be able to receive clinical assessments from specialists an hour away at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. All of this is thanks to high-definition videoconferencing capabilities made possible through a federal grant via the Ohio Board of Regents and Ohio Academic Resources Network (OARnet).
Fairfield Medical Center staff recently began state of the art Telemedicine training in order to provide increased communication between nurses and physicians. Such training is provided by Nationwide Children’s Hospital through a partnership with OARnet. Nationwide Children’s has been able to establish the connectivity required to maximize Telemedicine capabilities and has piloted the most up-to-date, high definition equipment necessary for successful implementation amongst other hospitals.
Telemedicine is defined as medicine practiced at a distance. Utilized to provide expansion of specialized medical services to rural areas, telemedicine involves the use of electronic information and communications technologies to provide and support health care when distance separates the participants. Telemedicine enhances accessibility and communication between physicians through real-time videoconferencing, allowing the referral center physician to visually access the patient and review diagnostic images and data in real time.
Videoconferencing enables specialists in Columbus, Ohio to view distressed children or newborns with exceptional clarity, examine detailed x-rays, view lab results and consult with pediatric physicians or emergency department physicians in Lancaster, Ohio in real-time.
According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, this enhanced communication allows:
- Greater collaboration with Nationwide Children’s specialists who can gain more comprehensive knowledge of a patient’s case through a real-time video connection.
- Expedited transport and placement of patients that require intensive or special care services.
- Ability to provide remote assistance if a patient’s condition suddenly worsens.
- Improved likelihood of families being able to continue care at their home hospital.
- Better control of medical expenses.
- Reverse rounding with the families’ physicians, improving the continuity of care once a patient is discharged.
- Education opportunities offered via teleconference.
- Decrease out-migration of patients seeking specialty services.
“This new technology enables us to provide better care to our pediatric patients,” said Dr. Jerome Roche, Chief Medical Officer for Fairfield Medical Center. “If we need help with diagnosing a patient, we can consult with a specialist at Children’s that will be able to see the patient in question instead of just talking to them on the telephone. It is a fascinating and much needed technology.”
Ranked in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2009 “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals” and Parents magazine’s 2009 top ten “Best Children's Hospitals” lists, Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit freestanding pediatric healthcare networks providing wellness, preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative care for infants, children, adolescents and adult patients with congenital disease. A medical staff of more than 900 and a hospital staff of 7,000 provide state-of-the-art pediatric care for more than 822,000 patient visits annually. As home to the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s Hospital physicians train the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists. The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital is one of the top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded freestanding pediatric research facilities. Nationwide Children’s remains true to the original mission since its founding in 1892 of providing care regardless of a family’s ability to pay. More information is available at http://www.NationwideChildrens.org.
OARnet was established by the Ohio Board of Regents in 1987 to provide researchers with access to the computational resources of the Ohio Supercomputer Center. Today. OARnet provides Ohio’s colleges and universities and their research partners with an integrated technology infrastructure that includes unrivaled intrastate network connectivity and shared services. OARnet specializes in providing custom solutions, whether providing virtualization resources, spanning the globe by videoconference or providing unrivaled 24/7 network support. For more information, visit http://www.oar.net.
Fairfield Medical Center located in Lancaster, Ohio, was established in 1916 and has continued to grow since then to become the modern, not-for-profit healthcare system it is today. Fairfield Medical Center is a 222-bed general acute care facility dedicated to being the major referral center that serves the healthcare needs of southeastern and central Ohio region. The Center is represented by more than 2000 employees, over 600 volunteers and Twig members and a growing team of over 250 physicians who all work together to ensure Fairfield Medical Center's continuing success in meeting the healthcare needs of our residents. To enhance upon its delivery of healthcare to the various communities it serves, Fairfield Medical Center has established affiliates and off-campus locations to allow for greater accessibility and enhanced services. For more information, visit http://www.fmchealth.org.