– Author: Zoi Hills
Four farm credit organizations have joined to support a telemedicine initiative at RC Hospital in rural Olivia, MN, located over 100 miles away from the Twin Cities. The four organizations that contributed to the project include: AgStar Financial Services, AgriBank, CoBank, and United FCS. The Farm Credit grant will enable cardiologists at Abbott Northwestern Hospital to remotely treat patients at the RC Hospital using telemedicine technologies. The main purpose of this grant is to cover the costs of telemedicine equipment, including bedside ultrasound, as well as training for RC Hospital’s local staff. The grant was supplemented by additional funding from the Abbott Northwestern Hospital Foundation.
Initially, the cardiology telehealth program will be able to serve six patients each week. Patients and medical staff will be able to see and talk with each other via telemedicine technologies. In Olivia, a hospital staff member will perform ultrasound tests on patients, and real-time images will help cardiologists in Minneapolis diagnose or rule out heart issues.
The program is expected to launch sometime this summer. With more than 20 telehealth sites in Minnesota and Wisconsin, Allina Health currently provides telehealth services such as stroke assessment and treatment, mental health assessments and referrals, psychiatric counseling and cancer genetic counseling. Additional telehealth services are planned over the next two years.