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Hospital board says ‘yes’ to telemedicine, ‘no’ to mobile app
Wilson Memorial Hospital District board member Amy Clark (from left) and Dr. Emily Frye, the hospital’s chief of staff, listen as Linda Shields of Endeavor Healthcare presents the monthly and year-to-date financial and statistical report for April during the board’s May 17 meeting.
Robotic camera technology to be used in neurology department
Telemedicine is coming to the Connally Memorial Medical Center, following the Wilson Memorial Hospital District board’s vote during its May 17 meeting to approve an agreement with Santa Barbara, Calif.-based InTouch Health and San Antonio-based Methodist Healthcare System. Karl Hittle of Endeavor Healthcare, which manages Connally, said the agreement comes at no cost to the hospital.
During a presentation at the board’s April 19 meeting, InTouch representatives demonstrated the remote presence robotic system, which the hospital intends to use as a means of diagnosing patients who exhibit stroke symptoms. See “Hospital board explores telemedicine technology,” April 25.
In other action, the board voted to approve the following capital equipment expenditures:
•$54,600 for calcium scoring software, which will be used in conjunction with the hospital’s computerized tomography (CT) scanner.
•$12,633.80 for a second set of arthroscopy equipment.
•Up to $40,000 for replacement of one of the hospital’s five boilers, which recently overheated.
A fourth proposal, a $25,500 deal with Dallas-based WorldLink to help Connally establish a mobile application, failed by a vote of 3-5. Board members Keith Johanson, Tommy Soriero, and Ronnie Eckel were in favor of the proposal, while Sam Carter, Sue Coats, Amy Clark, Monica Flores, and Jimmy Fietsam opposed it.
Hittle said the application would have been available for smartphones that utilize either the iPhone or Android operating systems. It would have given users capabilities such as finding physicians, tracking their own health data, viewing upcoming events, and getting estimates on emergency room wait times.
Eckel said the application would have been another means for Connally to tell its story.
“This is a marketing tool,” Johanson said. “We as a board ought to be as proactive as we can when it comes to marketing this hospital.”
Clark expressed concern that other areas of the hospital’s recently approved marketing plan were not being implemented first.
“I feel like this is great, when we get there,” she said. “But I feel like there’s a lot we could be doing [first].”
Eckel urged the board that the mobile application was one more way the hospital could “take a proactive approach when it comes to health care.”
Carter, however, suggested the board should worry more about remedying staffing issues and the hospital’s fractured emergency room reputation “before becoming progressive.”
Also during the meeting, the board approved the monthly and year-to-date financial and statistical report for April, as presented by Linda Shields of Endeavor. According to the report, the hospital’s net income year-to-date was $1,495,826, which is $205,458 behind budget projections.
For the month, Shields reported that the hospital had a net income of $208,346, which exceeded budget projections by $13,643. While the hospital experienced a $31,212 loss in total operating expenses and a $53,770 loss in other income, it collected $293,328 in property taxes and other subsidies for the month.
Wilson Memorial Hospital District May 17 board meeting
In attendance: Wilson Memorial Hospital District board members Ronnie Eckel, Jimmy Fietsam, Sam Carter, Amy Clark, Keith Johanson, Tommy Soriero, Sue Coats, and Monica Flores, hospital chief of staff Dr. Emily Frye, hospital spokesman Katie Etringer, administrative assistant Shirley Bienek and Linda Shields and Karl Hittle of Endeavor Healthcare.
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