YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Many people use the FaceTime application on their phones to call friends or use Skype to see relatives who live far away via a video monitor on their computers. So why not use a video hook-up to see a doctor?
This month, Park Vista started using a telemedicine unit called TripleCare, which provides residents with immediate access to a physician. TripleCare utilizes two-way video and digital diagnostic equipment to bring care directly to patients’ bedsides in nursing facilities.
According to Brian Kolenich, Park Vista executive director, TripleCare is more convenient for residents.
“You’re not getting an answering service when you call a physician in the evenings, or say 2:00 in the morning or on a holiday. You’re getting a physician, and it’s the same team of physicians working with the team here at Park Vista,” he said.
A patient can talk with a doctor who can see their condition via the video monitor. Often, the diagnosis and treatment will keep a patient from making a trip to the hospital.
“It puts a lot of stress on that patient when they’re sent to the hospital. Sometimes, I don’t think families realize what’s involved,” said Park Vista Administrator Michael Grimes.
TripleCare ensures that non-emergency conditions are quickly identified, stabilized and treated so that unnecessary re-hospitalizations do not occur. Youngstown has a re-admission rate to the hospital which is three times higher than the national average, according to Kolenich.
“The goal with TripleCare is to keep our patients in the facility and decrease the re-admission rates to the hospital,” said Dr. Vivian Starr, Park Vista’s medical director.
Starr has been Park Vista’s medical director for more than 10 years, and the first time TripleCare was used, it kept a patient who had fallen from going to the hospital. That is important because the best and highest reimbursements through Medicare and insurances are based on a patient being out of the hospital for at least 30 days.
Dr. David Chess, TripleCare’s co-founder, said the technology is revolutionary and could change the medical field.
“I really believe this is going to transform how care is given. Rather than constantly tossing people on a stretcher, sending them to the ER, the doctor comes to the bedside,” he said.