Why a South Dakota critical access hospital added telehealth to its ED: 5 things to know

Sisseton, S.D.-based Coteau des Prairies Health Care System implemented a telehealth program to improve patient outcomes in its emergency department, according to a March 13 post on athenaInsight.

Here are five things to know about the virtual care program.

1. Due to lack of medical specialists in its rural community, Coteau des Prairies Health Care System, which comprises a 25-bed critical access hospital and several clinics, relies on its primary care providers to staff the hospital's emergency department.

2. Several years ago, the hospital contracted with Avera eCARE Services, a telehealth program operated by Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Avera Health, to provide its physicians and nurses with 24/7 access to board-certified ED specialists.

3. All participating remote specialists are credentialed at Coteau des Prairies Health Care System and trained on its operating procedures. Appropriate credentialing ensures the remote specialist is able to work with the patient to start treatment and, if needed, arrange transfers to other facilities.

4. Typically, the remote ED specialists offer second opinions or recommendations to the onsite provider, and may interact directly with patients via video conferencing technology. In acute cases, such as a cardiac arrest event, an onsite provider may ask the remote specialist to oversee their intervention.

5. Prior to the tele-emergency services program, Coteau des Prairies Health Care System's time-to-transfer metric was above the critical access benchmark. Since contracting with Avera eCARE Services, the hospital has met national standards.

More articles on telehealth:
4 study insights into the pediatric telehealth landscape
Telemedicine offers potential intervention for pregnant women with opioid addictions
U of Mississippi Medical Center taps SnapMD for national telehealth center of excellence

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