• Last modified 1515 days ago (May 28, 2015)


St. Luke to treat more locally with tele-medicine

Staff writer

In emergency care, response time can mean the difference between a living, breathing patient and a grieving family.

St. Luke Hospital and Living Center recently added a telemedicine program through Avera eEmergency to the list of services that will help save lives.

Gail Boaldin, chief of nursing at St. Luke, is in charge of the program.

“It’s pretty cool,” Boaldin said. “With our new program we will have access to a certified ER physician within 10 seconds.”

Telemedicine staff will appear on-screen, examine the patient from a distance, and write orders that on-site staff can carry out in real time.

The online staff will not take over for local providers, but will offer another set of eyes on at a critical time, and in some cases perhaps provide another set of hands to document treatment.

“In a rural community we are blessed to have physicians who live right here town,” Boaldin said. “Most usually respond to a critical care situation in less than 15 minutes. And when they come in, they are in charge.”

Local healthcare providers will use the service for consultation on emergencies such as heart attacks, strokes, respiratory distresses, and traumatic injuries.

Tele-nurses will be available to help with documentation and make phone calls, leaving on-site nurses free to provide vital hands-on patient care, Boaldin said. Fewer patients may have to be transported to other hospitals as a result.

“The service will give us the ability to extend and enhance the level of health care in our community,” St. Luke CEO Jeremy Ensey said. “It elevates the level of care that we can support in our emergency department and allows us to keep patients here whenever possible.”

Last modified May 28, 2015