Getting access to emergency and specialty care is often difficult in rural areas. But people in rural areas of Idaho and eastern Oregon now have an option for these types of care.
St. Luke’s Health System in Idaho recently opened the St. Luke’s Virtual Care facility in Boise. The facility offers e-ICU services, physician consults and remote patient monitoring for the St. Luke’s system. Idaho is one of the nation’s most rural and least densely-populated states, so many Idahoans live in remote, underserved areas of the state. This new telehealth initiative will bring needed services to rural areas without people having to travel to Boise to get the services.
The new 35,000 square foot facility is open 24/7/365 and employs 350 people.
Other health systems are providing telehealth services on a regional and state level as well. Intermountain Healthcare, based in Salt Lake City, UT, consolidated its telehealth and telemedicine services into one location to form Connect Care Pro. Providence St. Joseph’s Health network in Illinois announced its Virtual Health System earlier this year, offering virtual visits, eConsult services and remote patient management (RPM) services that utilize mHealth devices.
“[Virtual care] is not a replacement for personal physicians,” stated Dr. Eric Rish, the medical director of Telehealth at St. Luke’s. "Your physician will determine the level of virtual care to be provided and makes all final decisions regarding your care plan. Because your physician reviews medical status and treatment plans with the care team every single day, your care can continue without disruption, even when your doctor isn't right there.”
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