Today, Palo Pinto General Hospital is expanding its use of telemedicine services into several areas of the hospital following more than a year of successful deployment of a pulmonary & critical care telemedicine program, which resulted in a substantial retention of patients locally.

The pulmonary and critical care telemedicine program not only improved patient care and satisfaction, it added to the hospital’s bottom line. Effectively expanding the facility’s ability to provide specialized care, patients who would normally require transfer now stay in-market. The program helps the hospital reduce the need for travel and expensive accommodations for families and enhances the hospital’s ability to coordinate care.

“When we got Access Physicians (now SOC Telemed) to join our program, we had so much great patient satisfaction and physician satisfaction,” said George Thomas, M.D., a Palo Pinto General Hospital hospitalist. “Access Physicians is the one group that has been truly very true to their name. They have provided not only access to skilled and caring pulmonologists for our patients but also 24-7 coverage for all our patients. It has truly been an amazing addition to our team.”

According to Palo Pinto General Hospital CEO Ross Kormas, (SOC Telemed) telemedicine services resulted in a reduction of emergency department patient transfers by 36 percent — approximately 200 patients annually. For pulmonary patients specifically, the hospital’s use of tele-pulmonary services resulted in reduced transfers of more than 40 percent. “There’s a huge impact to our community where we are able to keep more patients close to home and close to family instead of shipping them off to a facility that may be 1.5 to 2 hours away from where we are located.”

The telemedicine program allows for an integration that aligns with the hospital’s values, effectively delivering a white label service that doesn’t distinguish between a tele-specialist from Access Physicians on a screen and a Palo Pinto General Hospital physician delivering care at the bedside.

“Access Physicians (now SOC Telemed) has been a great attribute to the hospital itself because we have that specialty service that not every rural hospital can provide,” said Lisa Temple, RN, ICU director for Palo Pinto General Hospital.

Results at Palo Pinto General Hospital have been so successful, their team is developing additional service line rollouts, including infectious disease and outpatient pulmonology.

“As we continue evaluating services to our facility, we talk to our physicians and our nurses to figure out what is the next level of services we need so we can keep patients closer to home,” Kormas said.

Learn more about the success of the program by checking out their video.

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