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Telemedicine: The Future of Medical Care? October 14, 2019

A healthcare team video chatting with a patient on a computer screen.

(BEEVILLE, TX) – In a world that is growing smaller by the day – the result of technological achievements that provide us with opportunities to rub virtual elbows with people in every corner of the globe, CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Beeville is doing its part in shrinking the world even further. The hospital’s new Telemedicine service allows it to bridge the gap in service areas that have traditionally been inconvenient or simply unattainable for patients in rural areas.

CHRISTUS Health sees Telemedicine as the “future of medicine” for rural areas, which can provide challenges for health care systems in both recruiting and retaining physicians. One major benefit of the program is that it allows patients to receive care without needing to travel to a health care provider far from home. “Our Beeville team has seen an opportunity to retain patients who were being transferred to other hospitals where specialist are available,” said Vicki Nolen, LVN MAPD LSSYB, Director of Virtual Care and Clinical Innovation for CHRISTUS Health. “The benefit of keeping this approach in a rural setting is that it allows patients to stay close to home, and get the right care at the right time and at the right place.”

Here’s how it works: Patients who visit CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Beeville, in need of a specialist, are placed in front of a Telemedicine cart equipped with a monitor and a camera. From there, a physician on the other end of the screen is able to assess the patient and provide feedback. The program is even equipped with a digital stethoscope, which allows the physician to listen to the patient’s breathing and heartbeat – remotely. The whole process takes roughly fifteen seconds to set up. Patient privacy is taken very seriously; and, that no sensitive information is not stored on the Telemedicine equipment.

The Telemedicine program allows CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Beeville patients to have 24/7 access to specialist like cardiologists and nephrologists. “Our hospitals are able to get a better picture of our patients’ conditions.  Telemedicine give us 24/7 access to a specialist, which is always great for the patient.” states Mike Tyran, ED/ICU Manager for CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital-Beeville.  

With so many things that are technology-driven, there is a belief among many that the older generation of patients will have a tough time taking to this new way of health care. Tyran says that’s not so, “We see that patients are engaged with the process and enjoy having the access to a specialist – it keeps them from having to travel.”

Tyran says that of the patients who have taken advantage of the technology, the feedback has been positive.

CHRISTUS Health says that for smaller towns like Beeville, this is the future of medicine. “Telemedicine is truly the future,” said Tyran. “We are moving a lot faster, things are moving a lot quicker, and we all need to be aware that this is a way to take great care of patients.”