Southern Illinois Telemedicine Initiative

September 24th, 2015

Technology Puts Specialists Inside Area Emergency Departments

Bedside specialty care, within minutes, with the touch of a button. It sounds like something from Star Trek or The Jetsons from days of yore; but telemedicine is a reality in southern Illinois. Today, this technology puts specialists in neurology and psychiatry inside emergency departments across the region to deliver real-time assessment, diagnosis and treatment.

A $488,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) led to the creation of the Southern Illinois Telemedicine Initiative, SIH and it’s three hospitals in collaboration with the SIU School of Medicine, Connect SI, Illinois Hospital Association and four additional rural, community hospitals, are using this technology to provide life-saving treatment while eliminating transfer and transport times for patients.

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Expert Care During a Critical Time

In the area of stroke in particular, the adage is “time is brain.” Almost immediate access to the region’s largest neuroscience team at SIH Brain & Spine Institute expedites expert care at a critical time. Two million brain cells die every minute during a stroke; treatment within the initial hours of onset are critical for patients to receive a clot buster to thwart life-threatening and debilitating outcomes. The technology is also being utilized in behavioral health and fetal ultrasound, with plans to integrate cardiology and other medical subspecialties in the future.

Neurointensivist, Alejandro Hornik, MD explains, “We are not trying to replace bedside care we are just trying to compliment it.”

In addition to Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, Herrin Hospital and St. Joseph Memorial Hospital, Harrisburg Medical Center and Marshall Browning Hospital in DuQuoin are also using this advanced technology. Hamilton County Hospital in McLeansboro and Franklin Hospital in Benton will go live with telemedicine over the next few months.