UnityPoint Health enlists remote hospitalists for overnight patient care

Fort Dodge, Iowa-based UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center welcomed six new hospitalists to its staff this month who connect with and examine patients using telemedicine technology, according to The Messenger.

TRMC, which is part of West Des Moines, Iowa-based UnityPoint Health's network, partnered with Eagle Telemedicine on the telemedicine program. The virtual care services, which launched Nov. 5, aim to provide consistent physician care for TRMC's overnight patients while reducing the number of nighttime visits that daytime physicians are required to make.

Through the program, if a patient needs to be seen by a physician between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., a TRMC nurse can bring a telemedicine cart into the patient's room that features videoconferencing equipment and digital diagnostic equipment. A telehospitalist from Eagle Telemedicine can then virtually examine the patient. 

"We have a cart with state-of-the-art equipment that has a stethoscope on it and then it’s got a camera that can zoom in and move around the room," said Jolie Fenoglio, chief nurse executive for the hospital, according to the report. "The physician is on the other end and is speaking to the patient and can speak to the nurse, helps the nurse through the process of the physical piece of it and then does the history piece of it afterwards."

The telehospitalists also have access to patient charts and real-time test results and information.

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