Bringing tertiary care to communities

Story Source: Today's Hospitalist: Tele-hospital medicine branches out written by Paula S. Katz

AS THE ONLY TERTIARY CARE hospital in Iowa, the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics in Iowa City has long taken transfers from critical access hospitals. But one 25-bed hospital wanted to figure out a way to keep local patients in the community instead.

“It was really inconvenient for patients and families to travel to Iowa City,” explains Ethan Kuperman, MD, medical director of the hospital’s virtual hospitalist service. Yet there was no way for that facility, Van Buren County Hospital in Keosauqua, to provide round-the-clock physician care.

Dr. Kuperman did a site visit to Keosauqua, which is nearly 90 miles away, to understand what tests and resources were available. He then interviewed staff before setting up protocols, creating a handbook that outlines how to handle handoffs and communication. The telehospitalist program was launched last November.

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