Hospitals unveil virtual connection to improve emergency care

Hospitals unveil virtual connection to improve emergency care

Valley Regional can access services from Dartmouth-Hitchcock

System allows doctors in different hospitals to communicate by WMUR US

A Claremont hospital is bringing in more expert emergency help with the push of a button.

Valley Regional Hospital and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center unveiled a partnership Thursday that they said could save lives. Staff members at Valley Regional Hospital can have immediate virtual access to a team of Dartmouth-Hitchcock physicians during emergency room situations.

“This is our busiest department, and we see over 10,000 visits per year in the Emergency Department,” Valley Regional CEO Peter Wright said. “And they’re often not only the busiest, but often the sickest.”

A connection between the hospitals is made using a high-definition, live, two-way audio-video camera and a Wi-Fi-enabled monitor, allowing Telehealth nurses to get a look at the room.

Telehealth doesn’t just supply a second set of eyes. It also helps take some burdens off nurses, who function in fluid and often volatile situations.

“Having tele-emergency nurses, they’re able to do all of the documentation for us,” said Jenn, a registered nurse at Valley Regional Hospital. “We can essentially narrate what we’re doing.”

That information is vital for continuity, especially when transferring patients, officials said. Ninety percent of Valley Regional’s transports are taken to Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

Emergency physicians will be accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“It’s going to be the biggest evolution of health care, in my mind, over the next five to 10 years, in terms of how we supply the right care at the right time for the patients,” Wright said.

Valley Regional will pay a monthly fee for the service that was not disclosed. Doctors and nurses will not be limited in how much they use the service, officials said.