The Cavalier County Memorial Hospital (CCMH) has added a new form of telemedicine to its increasing repertoire of services.
By Melissa Anderson
Avera eEmergency gives rural providers such as CCMH better access to professional colleagues who can offer a second set of eyes and ears to help the staff at CCMH with the wide variety of situations they might encounter.
“Having Avera eEmergency available at CCMH brings experienced ER and trauma physicians and nurses to the bedside here in Langdon,” Jamie Nienhuis, Chief Nursing Officer at CCMH, said, “The equipment lets us quickly contact and access these experienced personnel almost immediately when a critical patient arrives.”
The medical personnel that CCMH contacts when they use the Avera eEmergency are in Sioux Falls and can help in a variety of ways. They can answer questions and give orders while CCMH ER staff wait for their own medical provider to arrive.
“They may just document events and assist with calling for transport. They may view x-rays and other tests and consult with our provider here. Avera eEmergency will assist us in any way they can,” Nienhuis explained.
Avera may even call a specialist if that is needed to better assist not only the CCMH medical staff but the patient as well. The specialist may give an opinion about the best course of treatment or assist with intubating a critical patient through the use of a video laryngoscope.
“They provide expert consult in emergency situations and the nursing staff there can assist with documentation during very busy times in the ER allowing our nurses to provide the care to the patient,” Nienhuis said.
The CCMH ER can do many things. The facility has a Lifepak 12 monitor that allows them to monitor, defibrillate, cardiovert and provide external pacing in emergencies. There is also a Lucas device that can do compressions during CPR, and the facility has multiple drugs available for use in an emergency and IV pumps for administering them.
“We are designated as a Level V trauma center by the state of North Dakota,” Nienhuis stated.
To achieve Level V status there are certain criteria CCMH must meet and are surveyed (inspected) by the state periodically to keep the designation.
“We have to have certain equipment and maintain certain education certifications as well,” Neinhuis said.
The Avera eEmergency started March 1, and for the first 30 days the Avera will be in use every time the CCMH staff have an ER patient to allow the staff to get used to the equipment and work flow.
“It will mainly be used when we need it for especially serious or critical patients or if we have an unusually high load of patients,” Nienhuis said, “Using Avera does not mean that we will not have one of our own providers here as one of our local providers will always be physically present here at the hospital when notified of an ER patient.”
The CCMH providers can choose to consult or not with Avera. Overall the local providers at CCMH are very pleased to have this option and have already made use of this expert consultation for certain cases.
“It’s good for a quick second opinion, verification of evaluation of treatment and reassurance that what you are doing is correct,” Dr. Didriskson said:
The establishment of this service was provided through a grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.