Tuesday, October 20, 2020

New telehealth program aims to help rural patients with chest pain figure out whether they're facing a heart attack

A new health care program in North Carolina—which could be replicated elsewhere—aims to help rural patients with chest pain avoid a potentially unnecessary and expensive trip to the emergency department. 

"The $1.2 million program, slated to begin in mountainous Wilkes County early next year, will bring doctors and nurses to the scene of medical emergencies through telehealth," Liora Engel-Smith reports for North Carolina Health News. "The doctors and nurses — most of them experts in emergency medicine — will help first responders evaluate patients with chest pain to decide the most appropriate next step, be it a hospital visit or a trip to a county health department for further tests."

The program could save both patients and the health-care system a lot of money, said Simon Mahler, professor of emergency medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Health, which helps oversee the program. "Mahler hopes the program will serve as a blueprint for similar initiatives for cardiac patients in other rural corners of North Carolina," Engle-Smith reports. "Heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular diseases — the state’s leading causes of death — affect and kill rural residents far more often than their urban counterparts." That's true nationwide as well.

No comments: