RUGBY The Heart of America Medical Center has gained another pair of hands and an extra set of eyes.
A nurse and an emergency room physician from Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., will now be on hand to help matters at the Rugby facility without even leaving Sioux Falls.
With the push of a button, the nurse and ER physician are broadcast into Heart of America either in the emergency room or the acute floor, both of which are equipped with eEmergency within 30 seconds.
Submitted Photo - - Lisa Lindgren, of Avera Health, Sioux Falls, S.D., trains the staff at Heart of America Medical Center, in Rugby, about using the eEmergency system. Heart of America Medical Center received eEmergency on Nov. 23.
"They're waiting and ready to answer our questions or help us with any type of (problems)," said Julie Baustad, director of nursing at Heart of America. "All you do is push a button. We have a camera in the ER that will allow them to view the patient and they can zoom in to the point of seeing a mole. It's direct face-to-face interaction."
"We're never without a physician or a physician's assistant," said Ken Reed, director of Emergency Medical Services in Rugby. "The resources are available all the time."
The eEmergency system came online at Heart of America on Dec. 5. But since then there haven't been any occasions where staff have used it, Reed explained. While it hasn't been used in an emergency situation yet, Reed said that morning and afternoon checks are performed to ensure the system is working properly.
Having eEmergency is especially important because additional nursing and physician-level support such as this is imperative in an environment where there is only one nurse working in the ER.
"Our nurses would be trying to find nurses in our facility or calling them at home to get advice they were looking for," Reed said.
Now, it's as easy as pushing a button.
"The nurse can use it any time," Baustad said. "It can be something as simple as wanting them to double-check a medication she is mixing to some very critical care situations, and we need a specialist's advice."
Also, instead of taking a nurse out of patient care to keep track of what's being done for a patient in the ER, eEmergency can be utilized to fill that void, Reed said.
"The nurse on the Avera system can sit and watch the whole process and listen ... and keep track of everything for us," he said.
eEmergency also helps keep patients at Heart of America, Reed said. Before, without the assistance through eEmergency, some patients would be sent to Trinity Hospital in Minot.
Janet Michaels, critical care coordinator, also noted that Heart of America would benefit from having eEmergency as it is "a nice thing for recruiting new physicians." Having eEmergency could be seen as being progressive in including technology in modern-day health care, she said.