Overnight, the 95 miles between Calais Regional Hospital and EMMC has vanished for Calais area patients seeking cardiac care. Now, instead of traveling a couple of hours, patients can drive just minutes to Calais Regional Hospital to meet with an expert EMMC cardiologist through a telemedicine partnership launched today with Calais.
Telemedicine allows patients in rural areas to access specialists and doctors at EMMC through a high-definition video stream from the comfort of their local community hospital, helping to minimize the patient’s time and expense associated with travel. It also allows doctors and specialists in these remote areas of Maine to access EMMC professionals for consultation.
Calais Regional Hospital has been linked with EMMC Telemedicine for emergency and intensive care for more than two years. “The expansion to offer outpatient services as well seemed like a natural transition,” states Michael Lally, Calais Regional Hospital CEO.
“It’s exciting to be able to increase access to specialty services to communities that, otherwise, wouldn’t have access to them,” says Mary McCarthy, RN, manager of EMMC Telemedicine and Emergency Services. “It’s great for the patient, who can now drive minutes down the road instead of an hour or two. This will be the first of many telehealth clinics we’ll offer to the Calais region.”
Initially, EMMC Northeast Cardiology Associates will have access to provide telemedicine office visits, with hopes for EMMC to add connections for surgery and trauma and possibly mental health in the near future.
By fostering a relationship with Calais Regional Hospital, EMMC Telemedicine is strengthening existing telehealth initiatives coordinated by EMHS member organizations to provide sustainable, high quality healthcare in rural northern, eastern, and central Maine.