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Lehigh Valley Health Network’s doctors drive less, heal more

- August 25, 2010 - 0 Comments

To be consistently recognized for operating some of the top hospitals in the United States by well-respected reporting organizations including U.S. News & World Report and the Leapfrog Group, an organization that rates hospitals, you have to have a pretty impressive staff of capable, knowledgeable doctors.

Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) has received such honors, and they do have an incredible staff. Unfortunately, when you operate three hospitals and several community-based health centers in high-traffic regions of Pennsylvania, much of that staff of more than 1,100 physicians spends a significant amount of time on the road between facilities. This is a problem since doctors behind the wheel are doctors that aren’t treating patients.

In an effort to reduce travel and increase the time doctors were spending with patients, Lehigh Valley Health Network hired Dr. Joseph Tracy as vice president of Telehealth Service and asked him to implement a telehealth program. Dr. Tracy has since installed TANDBERG HD video teleconferencing (VTC) solutions that allow doctors to see patients and each other regardless of the distance between them.

The results of the new telehealth program have been amazing.

One of the first specialties that began utilizing the new VTC solutions was Psych Emergency Services (PES). The LVHN has been able to deliver their PES specialists in their Muhlenberg campus to emergency rooms across the network without the need travel. The PES specialists are now doing more than 40 evaluations a month via VTC.

The LVHN is also using VTC to deliver its genetic counselors in the Cedar Crest campus in Allentown to its other locations. These genetic counselors discuss family history, potential birth defects, and anything on an ultrasound that’s abnormal with expecting mothers labeled as “high-risk.” The genetic counselors have been using their TANDBERG VTC solution five days a week and have seen more than 400 cases via video during the past year. This is exceptionally beneficial since women with “high-risk” pregnancies often shouldn’t be traveling.

Overall, VTC solutions being used for telehealth applications have helped the LVHN operate more effectively and efficiently. They’ve improved the patient’s access to life-saving and specialized care and have reduced the need of excessive travel for  doctors and patients.

What can VTC do for in your health network or hospital?

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