receives IHA award
Casey Meza, CEO, Clearwater Valley and St. Mary’s Hospitals and Clinics, received an award from the Idaho Hospital Association at their 77th annual conference last week. The ‘Excellence in Patient Care’ statuette was presented to Meza for the telemedicine programs in place at both facilities.
Their RP-7 robots and videoconferencing capabilities allow medical specialists from remote locations to ‘see’ patients in their Cottonwood and Orofino medical clinics. ER physicians from Spokane and Kootenai Medical Center consult, when necessary, on emergency patients and Boise psychiatrists see adult and pediatric patients. From the program’s inception in late 2009 until April, 2010 CVHC hosted 309 adult visits and 310 child and adolescent psychiatric visits and SMHC arranged 172 visits.
Cardiologists from Hearts Clinics Northwest, Spokane, commute to the Orofino and Cottonwood clinics, but also use the robots to see patients in between personal visits.
“It is really phenomenal that our hospitals and clinics are being recognized across the state and nationally. We’re doing things here in our rural area that very, very few other places are doing,” said Meza. “We’re bringing specialists in to consult with our doctors and meet our patients. Their advice not only helps our medical staff make the right decision it also establishes a relationship between specialist and patient in case we eventually have to transfer. We’ve recently signed on with a hospitalist group and are working to get dermatology services going. We’re taking advantage of the technology that’s out there to benefit our patients who get specialty care without leaving town.”
The technology is used to train ER, OR and other nursing staff. The robot has also been used in the CVH OR during surgeries while an OR crew from St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, Boise, view and critique, afterwards. We’re using the robots for training so we are continually improving our processes, said Meza.
According to a 2005 study, a telemedicine link between a large city hospital and a rural hospital saved almost $500,000 a year by avoiding unnecessary transfers and providing more effective care. Since 2003 almost $2 million has been raised by SMHC/CVHC through grants for IT initiatives.
This award is given to a healthcare professional who has displayed professional knowledge, leadership abilities and a passion for collaborative learning, said the award letter. The nomination said, “Casey was nominated for the award because she recognizes that technology can effectively help solve the lack of access to medical specialists.” The trophy was presented by Steve Millard, IHA President.