American TeleCare and Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center demonstrate telehealth technology in Idaho

Eden Prairie 17 August 2002American TeleCare Inc. and Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center organised a Senate field hearing which was held in Pocatello, Idaho on July 2, 2002. U.S. Senator Larry Craig, ranking member of the Senate Committee for the Aging, held the committee hearing on the campus of Idaho State University. The hearing was designed to review the use of technology in Idaho that is being used to improve access to health care, improve the management of patients in the home, and to learn about other benefits related to remote connectivity.

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The hearing was the first to be conducted where the witnesses who testified were located not only in Pocatello, but at remote sites throughout the state, including Boise, Coeur d'Alene, and Sandpoint using live interactive video technology. One of the highlighted events during the hearing was the remote health assessment of Senator Craig, located in Pocatello, by a Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center home health nurse, located 200 miles away in Boise.

To demonstrate the technology, the senator weighed in on a scale, placed a blood pressure cuff around his arm, and had his heart and lung sounds evaluated by the nurse. Both Senator Craig and the nurse were able to see and hear each other via the telehealth system while she gave the senator instructions and received his vital signs measurements on her computer screen.

Saint Alphonsus recently acquired American TeleCare's home telehealth system to expand the scope of their home health services and to increase patient access to care via direct monitoring of patients in their home. Alice Ennis, Director of Saint Alphonsus Home Health, stated: "We are dedicated to providing access to quality health care and education through telehealth technology. This advanced capability allows us to deliver high quality care to homebound patients from the Treasure Valley to rural communities."

"What we were able to demonstrate is a great example of the ease of use and reliability of our system in monitoring individuals remotely. Using a standard phone line, the Senator and nurse interacted live as if it were a face-to-face visit in the same room", stated Michael Lemnitzer, senior vice president for American TeleCare.

He added: "Video is a key component in monitoring select patients. With thousands of video units deployed in the United Sates today, our clients are successfully realising a quick return on their telehealth investment through reductions in hospitalisations and emergency room admissions, cost efficiencies in home health, and improved patient satisfaction and compliance."

American TeleCare Inc. pioneered the concept of home telehealth in 1993. The company markets the AVIVA System, an FDA-cleared telemedicine monitoring system which incorporates live audio/video with integrated electronic medical peripherals to allow a clinician to conduct remote examinations of patients in their homes. American TeleCare has installed the majority of home telehealth programmes throughout the world.

Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center is an expert in advanced medicine, dedicated to improving the health of its community. The first hospital to be built in Boise, Idaho, Saint Alphonsus combines medical excellence with hi-tech innovation. Saint Alphonsus is renowned for its state-of-the art filmless environment, award-winning clinical services, a nationally accredited Life Flight programme, and the region's only Level II Trauma centre.


Leslie Versweyveld

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