New Telemedicine Program Helps Patients at A. O. Fox Hospital
When John Frohlich went to the emergency department at A. O. Fox Hospital on a recent Saturday morning, he did not know he would be the first patient there to be helped by telemedicine.
Telemedicine is a means of delivering expert care to patients in one location from physicians who are in another location. It requires specific technology and secure network capabilities. This technology has recently been installed at Fox and is now being used to bring specialists to patients' bedsides for virtual visits.
Telemedicine enabled Dr. Deborah Sentochnik, an infectious disease specialist at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, to assess John Frohlich while he remained in Fox's emergency department in Oneonta and she stayed in Cooperstown. A nurse and Fox's audiovisual engineer brought a computer monitor up to Frohlich's bedside so that Dr. Sentochnik could evaluate him.
With the assistance of these staff members, Dr. Sentochnik monitored Frohlich's heart and completed a physical exam. Frohlich was impressed with the ease of communication: "I could see the doctor and she could see me. She was able to take my vital signs over the computer," he said.
Frohlich was admitted to the hospital and stayed at Fox while arrangements for surgery were made. Then he was transferred to Bassett Medical Center. The telemedicine assessments proved accurate, and surgery went well.
Frohlich is now at home recovering. The surgical team at Bassett Medical Center and the emergency department staff at Fox Hospital are delighted that this first real-time use of telemedicine was so helpful to a patient.
Anyone interested in helping this program can send a donation to Friends of Bassett, at 1 Atwell Road, Cooperstown, NY 13326, or make a donation online.