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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Westchester Medical Center Health Network Expands Telemedicine Program with Teletrauma Services in Ulster and Delaware Counties

The teletrauma program connects providers at HealthAlliance Hospital: Broadway Campus in Kingston and Margaretville Hospital in Margaretville, both members of WMCHealth, with the advanced care trauma expertise of specialists at WMCHealth’s flagship Westche

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Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) has expanded its telemedicine program to include a teletrauma service at the network’s Kingston and Margaretville hospitals, bringing the immediate care that traumatic injuries require to communities where access to Level I trauma care is limited.

The teletrauma program connects providers at HealthAlliance Hospital: Broadway Campus in Kingston and Margaretville Hospital in Margaretville, both members of WMCHealth, with the advanced care trauma expertise of specialists at WMCHealth’s flagship Westchester Medical Center and member Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla. Both Valhalla hospitals are home to Level I trauma centers verified by the American College of Surgeons (ACOS). A Level I trauma center provides the highest level of care to trauma patients.

The teletrauma technology is already in use at network affiliate MidHudson Regional Hospital in Poughkeepsie, the Hudson Valley’s first and only ACOS-verified Level II trauma center.

Through the teletrauma program, an emergency department physician or other acute care clinician in Kingston or Margaretville can initiate a video connection with the trauma team in Valhalla, allowing the specialist to see the patient and discuss the patient’s immediate needs with the bedside team. The remote trauma team can advise on the severity of the patient’s condition and determine with the local team whether the patient would best be treated in place or transferred to Westchester Medical Center or Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. The Level I trauma teams serve as a complement to – not a replacement for – the care provided by the local hospital.

“Trauma care follows the rule of the golden hour, with interventions in the first hour after a traumatic injury being the most critical for the patient,” said Rifat Latifi, MD, Director of Surgery and Chief of General Surgery at WMCHealth, who oversees the network’s trauma and general surgery programs across the Hudson Valley. “This program enables our trauma specialists to be involved through telepresence in the patients’ care and help provide the most appropriate care from the moment they reach the emergency department and offer the best chances for a successful outcome. Neither the patient nor the provider will ever be alone in case of trauma or emergency. Highly trained specialists will be telepresent at all times at a moment’s notice.”

The unique technology enables specialists to share imaging, test results and other medical information securely from one location to another. In addition, trauma specialists at the Level I centers can easily talk directly with doctors, nurses, patients and family members at the bedside in Kingston and Margaretville.

“Not only does the technology allow for the highest level of care to be provided to the patient, but it also helps to prevent unnecessary transfers to the Level I trauma center in Valhalla and allows patients to be cared for in their local communities,” said Paul Llobet, MD, Chief Medical Officer at HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley. “Patients truly in need of advanced trauma care will be transferred to the network’s Level I centers.”

Telemedicine Across the Westchester Medical Center Health Network

The teletrauma program joins existing telemedicine services already providing the highest level of advanced care for patients in communities across the Hudson Valley, including eICU, ePsychiatry, eTrauma, eStroke, eDermatology and STAT mobile ICU in network ambulances.

“Westchester Medical Center Health Network’s state-of-the-art telemedicine program is committed to making advanced healthcare accessible in and around the Hudson Valley and improving outcomes for our patients,” said Corey Scurlock, MD, MBA, Medical Director of WMCHealth’s eHealth program. “The teletrauma program allows Level I trauma care to be offered, remotely, in communities where patients would otherwise need to travel an hour or more to a trauma center. Teletrauma brings the specialist to the patient in a matter of minutes when every second counts. Our goal is to give patients the right care, at the right place, at the right time.”

The eHealth program has plans to further expand its telemedicine service offerings to additional WMCHealth locations around the Hudson Valley in the coming months.