By Karen Gorby
President and CNO, Angel Medical Center
There is a tool that is carefully woven into the fabric of every aspect of patient care: technology. Medical technology touches and enhances patient lives in countless ways every day, and helps providers deliver safer, more sophisticated care.
Every area of the hospital is augmented by technology, from medical screenings like CT scans and ultrasounds, to electronic patient records. Advancements in technology have also made many surgical procedures far less invasive and therefore far safer with less recovery time. Technology enables us to do much more for our patients in every arena, keep care locally accessible, and save patients time and travel.
Telemedicine continues to change the face of medicine and impact treatments across all service areas. It provides patients with opportunities to connect with specialists and services the hospital may not have on-site. Consultations between patients who suffer from chronic conditions such as diabetes and COPD and their providers are now often done via audio-visual conferencing tele-visits. Examples of telemedicine include the following: a consultation can occur via a telemedicine robot with a distant stroke specialist to treat a stroke patient immediately, we can access mental health treatment for patients through remote behavioral healthcare providers or patients suffering from seizures can “meet” with a neurologist to plan their care.
Through the addition of telemedicine, we can provide physician coverage/access during the night for our patients and staff. A Board-certified physician will assess and treat patients, and answer their questions via a robot that can interact, see and listen just as if the physician was present.
Technology even heightens staff performance. Collaboration and education are possible, and made easier, with the advent of real-time video conferencing. Providers can access complete patient profiles instantly – from their medical history to current medication summaries – in a highly coordinated way. This streamlined process translates to higher quality care, improved operational efficiency and better patient outcomes. Patients and staff benefit from depression-therapy sessions and weight-loss consultations through Chronic Care Clinic videoconferencing.
Technology’s starring role in medicine allows us to equalize care for our community members, and we will continue to seek out, trial and adopt innovative systems and tools. Openness to adopting progressive technology doesn’t just lead to serving patients more fully, it steers us toward new avenues of care that we have yet to envision. Combined with compassionate local caregivers, it provides the best of both worlds for our community.
Karen S. Gorby, RN, MSN, MBA, CENP, FACHE, is the President/Chief Nursing Officer of Angel Medical Center. Gorby is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). For nearly three decades, she has served hospitals and health systems in Ohio before assuming her role at Angel Medical Center. Gorby received her MSN from Saint Joseph’s College in Standish, Maine, and her MBA from Wright State University in Fairborn, Ohio.