This story is from the category Health
Date posted: 17/09/2006
The American women?s hospital Sacred Heart, based in the state of Florida, has recently announced it has managed to extend its specific expertise in managing high-risk pregnancies to the entire state.
Telemedicine allows pregnant women in Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington and Bay counties to receive expert care from Sacred Heart?s Regional Perinatal Center without having to travel to Pensacola. There are further plans to locate similar telemedicine clinics to Crestview and Port St. Joe within the next two years.
Through the new program, patients meet twice a month with a nurse practitioner, a genetics counselor, a program coordinator and an ultrasound sonographer at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast in Walton County. There, the nurse practitioner performs a physical examination of a patient referred to the Perinatal Center by her primary obstetrician. The patient can have a private consultation with a genetics counselor, and the sonographer performs a high quality ultrasound scan of the mother?s womb to monitor fetal development.
Using high-speed lines at the hospital, the digital ultrasound images are transmitted to Sacred Heart in Pensacola, where Dr. James Thorp, a specialist in maternal fetal medicine and medical director of the Regional Perinatal Center, evaluates them.
The final piece of telemedicine is the use of teleconferencing equipment to establish an audio and video link between the clinic and Thorp, allowing him to see the patient and converse with her.
?We wanted to expand the regional availability of our services and improve birth outcomes in Northwest Florida, while allowing patients to get expert prenatal care closer to home,? said Thorp.
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