NEW YORK, NY -- In a major step to enhance patient care throughout the Hudson Valley, the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) unveiled its new, technology-driven eHealth program, an initiative that is expected to improved patient outcomes throughout the Hudson Valley. At the core of WMCHealth’s eHealth initiative is the network’s 5,500-square-foot eHealth operations center, which features 20 multimedia stations equipped with the latest telehealth patient monitoring technologies and software. This hub will be staffed around the clock by highly-trained physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals. They will serve, remotely, as a complement to – and not a replacement for - the dedicated care teams for WMCHealth patients in network hospitals, nursing homes, physician offices and, eventually, homes across the region.
The eHealth program represents an initial $7 million investment in technology, infrastructure, staff and additional resources in the well-being of Hudson Valley residents by WMCHealth. It is the first telehealth program of its kind based in the Hudson Valley and for Hudson Valley residents.
WMCHealth already has enjoyed a successful launch of its eHealth program with an ePsychiatry initiative, which has been connecting behavioral health outpatients and staff at its MidHudson Regional Hospital in Poughkeepsie, New York, with clinical psychiatry specialists at its Valhalla, New York-based Behavioral Health Center. The new effort has already resulted in a greatly improved appointment compliance rate and increased patient satisfaction.
Now launching, another exciting application of the eHealth program will be in WMCHealth intensive care units (ICUs). There, doctors and nurses trained in critical care medicine will use sophisticated equipment at the eHealth Center to monitor vital signs around the clock and collaborate with bedside teams. Using the eHealth Center’s state-of-the-art, telehealth technology, expertly-trained medical staff can accurately monitor patients in the initial 98 ICU beds from this centralized location. Vital signs, medications, blood test results, X-rays and other pertinent information from bedside monitors will be sent to the eHealth control center by secure, high-speed data lines. This information will be displayed on a bank of displays exactly as it is seen in the hospital room by bedside care teams. These electronic ICU (eICU) patients will be monitored through the use of special, two-way video cameras which allow the eHealth team to consult directly with bedside doctors, nurses, family members and patients.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the incorporation of telehealth initiatives in eICUs has been shown to decrease mortality by 20 percent and reduce the length of hospital stay by 26 percent, “an outcome that is certainly worth the investment we are making in eHealth,” said WMCHealth President and CEO Michael Israel. “With seven hospitals and dozens of health-related entities across 6,200-square miles, supported by a workforce of 10,000 dedicated professionals, eHealth will extend our expertise further into the communities we serve, delivering on our commitment to provide the best care as close to home as possible to the residents of the Hudson Valley.”
WMCHealth will continue to expand and activate its eHealth program over the next few months with full application of the technology in ICUs at its Westchester Medical Center and MidHudson Regional Hospital sites scheduled for January 2016. WMCHealth plans to bring the eHealth program to other network sites in the Hudson Valley in proceeding months. “With our new eHealth program, WMCHealth is enhancing patient care by leveraging today’s latest technologies and supporting the great work of our bedside doctors and nurses,” remarked Corey Scurlock, M.D., Medical Director, WMCHealth Telehealth Center. Dr. Scurlock noted that WMCHealth is joining a select list of progressive organizations as more than 50 health systems and 400 hospitals nationwide are operating telehealth programs with great success.
A portion of the advanced technologies used in WMCHealth’s eHealth program were acquired as part of network’s transformative business partnership with Philips. Earlier this year WMCHealth and Philips entered into an historic, $500 million partnership that over its 15-year term will bring the most sophisticated and helpful medical technologies to Hudson Valley residents cared for through network services.