Illinois hospital turns to virtual care for hospitalist program

Jerseyville, Ill.-based Jersey Community Hospital launched a telemedicine hospitalist program to help address onsite staffing challenges.

JCH partnered with Eagle Telemedicine, a virtual care provider that connects hospitals with telemedicine practicing hospitalists and specialty physicians.

JCH began using Eagle Telemedicine's virtual care model in May because the community hospital was unable to sustain a full-time, onsite hospitalist program. JCH is licensed for fewer than 50 beds and prior to implementing the telemedicine program the local physicians were covering rounding and emergency calls, according to a news release emailed to Becker's.

With the telemedicine hospitalist program, JCH's onsite nurse practitioners work with Eagle Telemedicine physicians, who provide support and guidance through telemedicine technology. Since rolling out the services, the hospital has seen a decrease in the number of patients it transfers to other hospitals, JCH CMO Michael McNear, MD, said.

"We had seen a general movement of more patients being transferred from our emergency room to other hospitals for several reasons, including the fact that our physicians just weren't comfortable caring for a higher level of patients," Dr. McNear said. "With Eagle's telemedicine physicians handling our admissions and our coverage, we have eliminated that. They are very experienced and comfortable with hospital medicine and caring for critically ill patients."

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