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Wilson County News April 25, 2012 | 2,296 views | 2 comments
Robotic cameras enabling real-time, two-way audio and video communication between medical professionals in two separate hospitals might seem like part of Hanna-Barbera’s futuristic cartoon “The Jetsons.” But the technology exists today, and is being considered by the Connally Memorial Medical Center in Floresville as a means of treating patients with stroke symptoms.
Tracy Munden and Pat Leary of Santa Barbara, Calif.-based InTouch Health demonstrated a remote presence robotic system to the Wilson Memorial Hospital District’s board at its April 19 meeting. Connally’s Chief Executive Officer Jerome Brooks said if the hospital agreed to purchase the technology, it would be utilized in its neurology department to aid in early intervention for patients displaying symptoms of stroke. This would occur through a proposed partnership with San Antonio’s Methodist Healthcare System.
On hand to represent Methodist were Michael John and Susan Kilgore. John said the camera could result in faster intervention and better care for stroke patients, which means patients needing transfer to Methodist would arrive in better condition.
“When the patient sees the doctor on the screen, that is the doctor that the patient is going to get when they are transferred to us,” John said.
Because seconds count in the event of a stroke, John said a helicopter would immediately be dispatched from San Antonio to Floresville to transport a patient if it is determined a transfer is warranted.
Munden said in addition to setup fees and training, it would cost Connally less than $5,000 per month to lease the robotic camera, which InTouch Health would maintain.
No action was taken by the board related to InTouch Health’s proposal. The board did, however, accept the April financial and statistical report, as presented by Linda Shields of Endeavor Healthcare. According to Shields’ report, the hospital finished March with a net income of $142,893, which fell short of the projected $330,588. Shields said this was mostly due to large capital equipment purchases, such as Connally’s new hyperbaric chambers.
While $286,104 in revenue from property-tax collections and other subsidies helped the hospital to stay in the black, Shields reminded the board that Connally’s financial position is vastly different than it was just one year ago. On March 31, 2011, the hospital posted a year-to-date net loss of $183,334. As of March 31, 2012, the hospital has posted a net income of $1,287,480.
In attendance: Wilson Memorial Hospital District board members Sandy Yow, Keith Johanson, Sue Coats, Monica Flores, Ronnie Eckel, Amy Clark, and Jimmy Fietsam, Connally Memorial Medical Center Vice Chief of Staff Dr. Carl Blond, Chief Executive Officer Jerome Brooks, Curtis Rojas and Linda Shields of Endeavor Healthcare, hospital spokesman Katie Etringer, Chief Nursing Officer Celeste Brizzee, surgical nurse Sue Tackitt, and administrative assistant Shirley Bienek.
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