A telemedicine demonstration was held on Friday, January 10, at Macon County General Hospital. The demonstration was attended by local dignitaries and members of the Upper Middle Tennessee Rural Health Network. It featured a machine called the RB-Lite, made by InTouch Health, which had just gone live at Macon County General the day before.
The machine allows doctors and patients in rural hospitals to have Skype-like video interaction with specialists in other cities in live time. The doctor can control the camera and screen, ‘looking’ all around a room and zooming in to see details such as a patient’s eye movement or name tag. It is on wheels, and can be moved easily around a hospital. It also features accessories like a stethoscope (which the MD can take readings on from his or her location), a privacy headset (allowing the distance MD to have private conversations with the local doctor and any family members in the room), and Composite and S-Video ports.
This machine will be used in the Behavioral Health center at Macon County General; they plan to have another similar machine installed for use with TeleStroke care. This means that stroke patients in Macon County can be carried to Macon County General, where a neurologist will be able to immediately examine the patient long-distance. Then, on his recommendation, the “clockbuster” stroke medication can be administered immediately, in the crucial time window that often means the difference between a minor stroke and a severely debilitating stroke.
“This is the future in medicine,” commented Macon County General Hospital CEO Dennis Wolford.
MCGH has also recently acquired a digital mammography machine. This means that local women will be able to access the highest quality mammograms available without having to leave the area. The machine provides faster results that are more accurate, and easier to read for medical practitioners. “These machines,” said hospital liaison Stacey Brawner, “are absolutely state of the art.”