Overnight patients can now consult a doctor via telemedicine.

March 14, 2017

iNDIGO telemed 2-600-TelePtOvernight patients can now consult a doctor via telemedicine.


LUDINGTON — Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital is expanding use of telemedicine, in which patients interact with a physician via a mobile computer web connection, to its hospitalist program. The hospitalists, doctors who specialize in care for patients in the hospital, will begin using the new technology during the overnight hours this week.

“Telemedicine is proving very effective for a wide range of health care situations,” said Helen Johnson, chief nursing officer. “Of course, for urgent matters requiring a personal physician visit, we have a back-up system in place. For most patient needs we will be able to use the telemedicine technology during the overnight hours.”

“When an in-person examination is needed, one of our hospitalists is on call to come to the hospital. If an emergency situation arises for one of our inpatients, our emergency physicians and staff are on duty 24/7 and will respond immediately.”

The new telemedicine system will be used between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. At other hours, hospitalists will be on duty in the hospital. Ludington’s hospitalists are members of iNDIGO Health Partners, which contracts with Ludington Hospital for the service.

”If a patient needs to consult with a physician overnight, a nurse trained in the telemedicine equipment will help the patient communicate with the doctor using the virtual technology,” explained Joe Johnson, director of the hospital’s critical care unit, respiratory therapy and nursing administration; Johnson is also the clinical lead for the new program.

“The hospitalists will have secure access to the patient’s full electronic medical record (EMR),” he continued, “enabling them to review records, lab results, medical images and other medical details. The physician will also be able to enter electronic orders just as would be done by an onsite medical provider.”

Telemedicine is currently used throughout the Spectrum Health system, including Ludington Hospital. Spectrum Health, which introduced telemedicine in the region in 2015, recently announced that use of virtual doctor visits has significantly surpassed growth expectations and patient acceptance. Other medical offices in West Michigan have since adopted telemedicine, and its use is reportedly being considered by more health care providers.

“Health care consumers have become increasingly aware of telemedicine as a lower-cost and convenient way to see a doctor,” said Joe Johnson.

“Here in Ludington we use this technology routinely for follow-up visits with cardiologists, sleep medicine and other specialists in Grand Rapids and elsewhere. Telemedicine appointments for various types of care are now available via smart phone and tablet, even from a person’s home. We anticipate that use of this technology will continue to grow into the future.”

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