Patients at St. Luke’s Magic Valley’s intensive care unit (ICU) have access to greater care, thanks to the telehealth program that utilizes an electronic platform to access specialists and monitor patients. This service allows patients to be seen by specialists in other cities without leaving their own community, and the electronic monitoring component helps prevent falls or other medical emergencies by improving the way patients are monitored in their rooms.
“This really is a two-way street. It’s not just Boise providers providing care to Magic Valley, it’s also Magic Valley providers providing care to Boise and other St. Luke’s facilities,” said Krista Stadler, senior director for telehealth services at St. Luke’s Health System.
Telehealth services will expand significantly in the coming years, according to Stadler. The increase of telehealth is important to make care easily accessible and more cost effective. Without that expansion, it will be challenging to meet the needs of patients in communities with limited specialists.
“Telehealth is growing across the nation, in the Magic Valley and throughout our region,” Stadler said. “At St. Luke’s, we like to refer to this as ‘telehealth’ because we believe that providers, educators, social workers and many others can all utilize this technology to provide patient care.”
Telehealth at St. Luke’s Magic Valley started four years ago when St. Luke’s Health System was awarded a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) innovation grant.
“We wanted to see if we could improve patient outcomes in an intensive care unit (ICU) so we established a teleICU program,” Stadler said.
As part of the teleICU program more than 80 beds are monitored at multiple St. Luke’s facilities. ICU patients have access to additional specialists through two-way audio video coupled with remote monitoring to proactively screen for any changes.
The program’s goals are to:
There are many subspecialties which intend to utilize the program in the future.“We really want to make this patient-centered,” Stadler said. “For example, if a patient is admitted at St. Luke’s Wood River with an uncommon diagnosis and there is a specialty provider at St. Luke’s Magic Valley, we can tap into that and ensure the patient gets the care they need close to home.”
Michelle Bartlome is the public relations manager at St. Luke's Magic Valley.