New Telemedicine Technology Coming to Geriatrics Group
A new technology that improves telemedicine visits is coming to UR Medicine Geriatrics Group, thanks to a grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation. The Coronavirus Emergency Support Grant will fund Tryten telehealth carts with which providers can remotely position cameras, adjust audio, and better utilize diagnostic tools like digital stethoscopes and otoscopes. This telemedicine equipment will help provide mobile services to the highest need nursing homes in the area.
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread through our community, UR Medicine Geriatrics Group providers increasingly relied on telemedicine to see their at risk patients, because virtual patient visits prevented the exposure and spread of the coronavirus to themselves and their patients. In addition to safety, telemedicine helps bridge the gaps in care for people with transportation issues. The use of technology sometimes reduces wait times to see a provider, with same day visits being easier to schedule.
UR Medicine Geriatrics Group Program Administrator Ryan Gilmartin, MHA, who secured the grant to fund better telehealth technology with Katy Stevenson, Program Administrator of Strategy, Planning and Development for URMC Office of the CEO and Dean and Jamie Bishop, URMC/Medical Faculty Group Sr. Director of Strategic Initiatives, says the virtual visits will greatly improve with the new carts. “With the new carts, no one has to move the camera on the patient’s side of the encounter,” said Gilmartin. “The carts feature a ‘pan-tilt-zoom’ option which allows the provider to control the camera.” The expanded capability for providers are especially important for patients who live in nursing homes and senior living communities.
For telemedicine advocates like UR Medicine Geriatrics Group Medical Director Dallas Nelson M.D., the increase in telehealth usage is a dream come true. “Telemedicine has been shown to keep patients from getting worse and staying out of the hospital all together. In the midst of this pandemic, it helps to limit both the providers’ and the patients’ potential to contagion exposure,” said Dr. Nelson. “I do think that telemedicine will continue. I think that we will have to demonstrate why telemedicine was the best medical choice after the pandemic.”