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TriStar Health System 1st to Launch Telemedicine Network in Middle Tennessee

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July 12, 2011

New technology is allowing experts from across the world to care for patients in Dickson and the surrounding areas, and it can be done in only a matter of seconds.

The new telemedicine program at TriStar medical centers will help save lives. The program virtually delivers experts to a patient's bedside. All the on-call expert needs is a wireless connection. With the portable equipment, experts from across the world can zoom in on the patient's features, check X-rays, ask questions and even conduct physical exams.

"It does not replace services, but provides resources that are not always available in rural areas” says Horizon Medical Center Director of Emergency Services, Gabe Triplett, RN. “ Telemedicine enhances availability and access to health care specialists.”

Triplett says telemedicine involves a mobile cart that can be taken to the patient's bedside.  The equipment will allow doctors, nurses and other health professionals in remote outposts to consult with specialists about a patient's condition. Initially, this new technology will be used to treat strokes but will eventually be used to treat other conditions. 

Tennessee ranks No. 1 nationally for age-adjusted deaths per 100,000 population from stroke, according to most recent data tracked by the American Heart Association. In 2007, there were 3,421 deaths here from stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The TriStar Telemedicine Network is the  largest telemedicine network in Middle Tennessee for strokes. The equipment is installed at Centennial, Skyline, Southern Hills, StoneCrest and Horizon medical centers. Three more hospitals will have the program this fall.

After installing the new system at Centennial, Horizon, Southern Hills, StoneCrest and Skyline medical centers here, TriStar plans to expand the rollout to all 19 of its hospitals. After that, non-HCA hospitals in rural communities would be targeted.

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