As Intermountain Healthcare expands TeleHealth Services to support more clinical programs, technology development and support continues to play a central role. To this end, the new TeleHealth Technology Center in St. George works in tandem with TeleHealth Services teams in Salt Lake to build, test, and adapt cutting-edge technology to meet the clinical needs of programs seeking TeleHealth support.
Intermountain leadership decided to launch the TeleHealth Technology Center to both fulfil immediate needs and serve as an investment for the future. They selected St. George to help test the audio/visual connections of TeleHealth technology at great distances. The Southwest Region’s leadership has also strongly supported TeleHealth Services, championing more pilots than any other region. We want to strengthen teamwork across Intermountain’s regions, Medical Group, and outreach partners in the community.
The TeleHealth Technology Center is an extension of Intermountain’s other system-wide clinical support services, meaning the patients and providers come first. The solutions developed between Salt Lake and St. George always start with a clinical need, not a cool piece of technology. Some pilots start with a narrow clinical scope, but we are always thinking of how any TeleHealth program can be applied across the system. This extension of our centralized TeleHealth team helps facilitate a faster, more uniform roll out of a tool to help patients and care-givers alike.
One of the solutions the TeleHealth Technology Center is currently focused on is single screen support for monitoring multiple patients who are at risk of falling. In a pilot program already underway, staff are remotely watching up to 5 patients at a time, all on separate screens, communicating with patients using the TV’s in their rooms, and alerting nurses to potential problems. The solution has so far averted 30 patient falls; prevented more than 20 Foley, oxygen and PICC/IV lines from being pulled out by patients; and prevented over-medication of 4 patients, all adding up to estimated savings of $120,000. While this solution has worked on a small scale, the technology team is working on bringing multiple feeds onto one screen to allow for an easier system-wide implementation of this already successful program. The timeline for further implementation is still to be determined.
Other initiatives the TeleHealth Technology Center team will focus on include working with the Transformation Lab to apply Tissue Analytics to wound care, and putting TeleHealth connections in emergency medical transportation.