Spotted in the News: Regional Tele-ICU at Minneapolis VA

Is it just me, or is there more news popping up every day about advantageous applications of telehealth?  This story, from the front page of the Star Tribune on Feb. 26 gives a look into the operations of the VA Midwest Health Care Network’s recently opened Tele-ICU regional “hub”.  Nicknamed the VA’s “eye in the sky,” the center serves as a control room from which trained critical care nurses and intensivists monitor patients in seven regional hospitals across the Midwest, including Minneapolis (MN), Fargo (ND), Omaha (NE), Iowa City (IA), Des Moines (IA), Fort Meade (SD), and Sioux Falls (SD).  Among the principal advantages noted by nurses and doctors from the center, the Tele-ICU hub allows an increased number of patients to be monitored at once, reduces the need to transfer frail patients to alternate locations, and gives smaller care systems 24/7 access expert advice for complex cases.
Click here to read the Star Tribune article:  “Remote ‘eye in the sky’ keeping tabs on VA hospital patients” or find more information through the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

Telemedicine featured in Sunday’s Star Tribune

This weekend, telemedicine made it into the Twin Cities’ Star Tribune paper, with a full page spread in the business section titled “Tele-medicine taking off”.  The article, written by Jackie Crosby, highlights local physician Dr. Greg Smith, his confidence in the future of telemedicine services, and the online care service Consult A Doctor, where he serves as the chief medical officer.  Consult A Doctor, which is one of a growing number of online consultation platforms, operates solely through telecommunication technologies (phone, email, videoconference), allowing patients to connect with providers 24 hours a day to resolve basic health complaints.  According to the article, Consult A Doctor has performed over 200,000 consultations in the past six years, and is being increasingly adopted by employers and travel insurance agencies.  The article also highlights several other Minnesota based online consultation services including Virtuwell (provided by HealthPartners), and American Well (provided by BCBS Minnesota, UnitedHealth Group, Medtronic).

To read the full article, “Tele-medicine taking off”, click here.