Culberson Hospital “Connects” with Emergency Medicine Specialists

Submitted by Judy Blazek

Many patients who use Culberson Hospital emergency services will soon benefit from the additional expertise of a board-certified emergency physician.

The emergency department at Culberson is equipped to handle any patient that comes through its doors. However, in critical situations – such as stroke, heart attack, trauma or serious injury where every second counts – telemedicine will allow emergency medicine specialists to work “virtually” side by side with local providers via a network of cameras and monitors installed in the trauma room.

“Culberson Hospital and Preferred Management Corporation are working with Avera eCARE, the largest telemedicine provider in the U.S., to partner with our staff and enhance the clinical care provided to our patients,” said Jonathon Voelkel, hospital administrator.

The eCARE team of physicians and critical care nurses will collaborate with Culberson physicians, advanced practitioners and nursing staff, providing a second set of eyes and ears through secure, interactive, high-definition cameras and telephones that connect SCMC to eCare’s virtual hospital command center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

“Real-time communication will allow the eCARE team to both see and hear everything that is taking place in the emergency room and work seamlessly as a member of our team, around-the-clock and at the push of a button located in the trauma room,” said Voelkel. eCARE emergency staff will clarify what level of support is being requested by the hospital, and help with as much or as little as needed.

“Access to board certified emergency physicians will help us make more rapid treatment decisions and potentially reduce transfers,” said Ed Garner, D.O. “At the same time, those transfers that are necessary can be made faster and more easily.”

Equipment installed in the hospital will be connected by a dedicated fiber optic line to a special data center hub installed by Preferred in Dallas. The Preferred hub will be connected by a dedicated fiber optic line to eCare’s virtual hospital command center.

“This is a major and costly endeavor,” noted Mike Easley, Preferred vice president for hospital operations, “but one we know will be a great investment in our providers and the patients they care for.”

Since the launch of eCARE Emergency in 2009, board-certified emergency physicians have delivered immediate, supportive care to emergency departments at 137 hospitals across the country. The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust named HYPERLINK “https://www.avera.org/ecare/” Avera eCARE as a winner of the 2016 Innovations in Rural Health Award.

How does Virtual Emergency Room at Culberson Hospital Work?

Cameras, TV screens, microphones and speaker phones installed in the Culberson Hospital trauma suites will soon be connected by fiber optic cable to the eCARE virtual hospital command center in Sioux Falls, SD, giving local providers immediate, real-time access to board certified emergency physicians when needed.
Cameras, TV screens, microphones and speaker phones installed in the Culberson Hospital trauma suites will soon be connected by fiber optic cable to the eCARE virtual hospital command center in Sioux Falls, SD, giving local providers immediate, real-time access to board certified emergency physicians when needed.