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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Westchester Medical Center Health Network Expands Region’s Only Telemedicine Program to Mobile ICU Ambulances

Video-equipped Ambulances offer Hudson Valley Patients Immediate Advanced Care

news item

VALHALLA, N.Y. (February 14, 2017) – The Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) is taking its e-Health Program –- the only telemedicine program in the Hudson Valley –- on the road, adding telemedicine capabilities to its mobile ICU ambulances that transport critically ill patients across many miles for specialized care at the health network’s Valhalla campus. This investment in Hudson Valley healthcare fulfills WMCHealth’s promise to bring the high-quality healthcare resources available on the network’s Valhalla campus to residents throughout the region.

In WMCHealth’s new telemedicine program, the network’s two mobile ICU ambulances, which provide care to trauma, burn, neonatal and pediatric critical care patients, are now equipped with Wi-Fi and the latest HIPAA compliant audio-visual communication platform, allowing ambulance staff to have video consultations with clinical specialists at WMCHealth’s flagship Westchester Medical Center and member Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital while transporting critically ill and injured patients to the hospitals. Using tablets equipped with specially designed software and stabilized on secure mounts, WMCHealth’s advanced care on-call physicians located anywhere in the hospital can see and speak with patients and ambulance personnel during transport. The new mobile capability, which is the first of its kind in the region, gives ambulance crews added support during the transport and helps receiving teams better prepare for and assist patients upon arrival.

As home to the Hudson Valley’s only Level I adult and pediatric trauma programs, burn center, its Regional Neonatal Unit and transplant program, WMCHealth handles between five and 10 patient transfers per day to its Valhalla campus and estimates that it transported about 2,200 patients in 2016, the highest rate of any hospital in the region. Patients travel from as far away as Pennsylvania, Rochester, the Catskills and western Connecticut to Westchester Medical Center and Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital to receive advanced care for the treatment of traumas, severe burns, cardiac issues, strokes, extreme prematurity and other critical care needs.

“Our eHealth telemedicine program is making quality healthcare more accessible to our patients, and supporting the great work of our bedside doctors and nurses,’’ said Corey Scurlock, MD, Medical Director of WMCHealth’s e-Health Program. “This mobile application provides an extra layer of support to the dedicated teams on our mobile ICU ambulances who are working to stabilize and care for critically ill patients as they travel to our main campus for advanced care.”

Dr. Scurlock said a study done by the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California - Davis compared 582 patients from 15 emergency departments that used telemedicine with 524 patients from 60 emergency departments without telemedicine between 2010 and 2014. The study showed that seriously ill children who had the benefit of a physician’s consultation through telemedicine before they arrived at the hospital were in less critical condition when admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit and had shorter hospital lengths of stay.

WMCHealth’s mobile ICU program is just the latest initiative in a larger, comprehensive telemedicine program launched in 2015 that WMCHealth invested more than $7 million to create a telecommunications hub with 20 multi-media stations equipped with the latest patient-monitoring technologies and software. The eHealth center is staffed around the clock with highly-trained critical care physicians, nurses and other health professionals.

Last year, WMCHealth expanded its eICU capabilities to MidHudson Regional Hospital, a member of WMCHealth, in Poughkeepsie, where the hospital’s 15-bed intensive care unit was linked to WMCHealth’s eHealth center. Similar technology recently expanded to network hospitals of HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley.

WMCHealth has already had a successful e-Psychiatry program connecting behavioral health patients at MidHudson Regional Hospital to clinical psychiatrists at the Behavioral Health Center, a member of WMCHealth, which has significantly reduced the number of patients missing scheduled appointments.

About Westchester Medical Center Health Network

The Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) is a 1,700-bed healthcare system headquartered in Valhalla, New York, with 10 hospitals on eight campuses spanning 6,200 square miles of the Hudson Valley. WMCHealth employs more than 12,000 people and has nearly 3,000 attending physicians. From Level 1, Level 2 and Pediatric Trauma Centers, the region’s only acute care children’s hospital, an academic medical center, several community hospitals, dozens of specialized institutes and centers, skilled nursing, assisted living facilities, homecare services and one of the largest mental health systems in New York State, today WMCHealth is the pre-eminent provider of integrated healthcare in the Hudson Valley. For more information about WMCHealth, visit ww.WMCHealth.org.