Eureka, CA (April 18, 2013) – St. Joseph Hospital, in an effort to ensure high quality health
care services remain accessible in our community, is pleased to announce
the arrival of a new telehealth device. This device, which was introduced
in our facility in early February, allows physicians to remotely deliver
comprehensive, real-time consultative services to patients in our hospital.
At this time, the telehealth device is specifically being used for nephrology
services. The North Coast has seen a recent decrease in the number of
nephrologists (kidney specialists). Even though there is an active endeavor
right now to recruit additional nephrologists to our community, St. Joseph
Hospital is investing in telehealth technology in order to ensure this
specialty care remains available to our patients and our community right
now and into the future. According to
The World Market for Telehealth – An analysis of Demand Dynamics
– 2012, telehealth is projected to reach 1.8 million patients worldwide by 2017.
"Telehealth is quickly growing across the country," said Dr.
Matthew Miller, Chief Medical Officer for St. Joseph and Redwood Memorial
Hospital hospitals. "It provides an opportunity to expand access
to health care especially in rural areas, closing the gap between the
need for specialty care and access to that care. St. Joseph Hospital is
excited and very proud to be able to provide this kind of technology for
our community," added Dr. Miller.
The telehealth device includes a monitor, audio/video communications, stethoscope
and privacy headset. It is designed to be easily moved around the hospital.
Two physicians from within St. Joseph Health – one from Santa Rosa
Memorial Hospital and one from Petaluma Valley Hospital – are able
to provide consultations through the device.
Additionally, several of the Community Resource Centers (CRCs) of St. Joseph
and Redwood Memorial Hospital hospitals are now equipped with telehealth.
CRCs in Willow Creek, Loleta and Eureka have a large monitor and camera
that allow connectivity to the internet via a medically secure connection.
Services available include personal and family counseling from Open Door
Community Health Center providers. Also, clients of the CRCs will be able
to access other health and lifestyle education and support services through
the telehealth equipment and share services with each other. Paso a Paso
(Step by Step), a program of the CRCs that supports the local Hispanic
community, now also has a telehealth unit that will allow access to health
promotion services in Spanish.