Telemedicine delivers care at Alverno

Rachael Keating/Clinton HeraldDoogie (left) is set up in an Alverno patient’s room Jan. 31. The nursing home first implemented Doogie on Jan. 11 for patients to access doctors and specialists from the comfort of their room.

CLINTON — A new piece of technology making the rounds at The Alverno Health Care Facility is making it more convenient for residents to get the urgent care they may need.

Using audio and visual equipment such as television-like monitors and powerful headphones, patients and staff at the facility are now able to connect with doctors and specialists all over and in real time, not just at the facility itself. eLongTermCare, eLTC as it’s known, aims to provide many benefits to Alverno residents.

The technology was first used at the facility in early January.

The telemedicine system will cut down on expensive travel and transport costs to and from a healthcare setting, according to a release from The Alverno. The system will reduce unnecessary emergency room visits and hospitalizations, as well as ensuring early and prompt treatment for acute conditions, the release says.

One of the “Electronic doctors,” affectionately known as “Doogie,” recently was used to help Alverno resident Madonna Gibson with some minor breathing complications. As Gibson’s condition was being monitored by an Alverno nurse in her room, Doogie’s capabilities were allowing doctors across the state to monitor the treatment in real time.

“They sure did (take care of everything right there),” Gibson said. “It was certainly different.”

Gibson was grateful for the trip saved from leaving the facility and going into the cold winter weather. Her son, Dan Waters, is also grateful for the technological gains at the facility.

“Although I wasn’t here, my sisters indicated to me that they felt it was very thorough, and it was just like being at the doctor’s office. But it wasn’t at the doctor’s office,” Waters said. “They felt very comfortable with it, and I think the bottom line is that we now have the opportunity to treat this cough that has been ongoing... it was really nice that they were able to mention it to the staff here, and they were able to say, ‘Let’s get Doogie involved.’”

Nurses said Doogie also has been used to monitor the treatment of lacerations, bruises and other afflictions using powerful camera equipment. It’s yet another piece of technology that is allowing Alverno staff members, and now professionals in other parts of the state, to provide quick and efficient care.

“From a family member’s standpoint, particularly this past weekend... after talking to the nurses, the decision was made to get Doogie involved, and the nice part of it is that my sisters who travel here every weekend can leave and go back home knowing that the issue has been taken care of,” Waters said. “Or maybe at least there’s a plan in place. From that standpoint, it’s nice.”