Eastern New Mexico Medical Center has made large strides in improving and expanding local access to specialty care over the last year, and more is on the way. The hospital’s investments and growth of services means more people can stay local for their care, which is more convenient, can support more rapid intervention – and it also continues to fuel the local economy. Log on to the Eastern New Mexico Medical Center at www.enmmc.com for more information.
Early last year ENMMC introduced teleneurology services. “With this new service, we now provide a higher level of emergency stroke and critical neurology care, 24 hours a day,” said Maridel Acosta, ENMMC’s CEO. If it’s suspected that a stroke has occurred, ENMMC’s stroke team will take a scan of the patient’s brain and, if further examination is warranted, sophisticated videoconferencing technology is used to quickly connect doctors at ENMMC with a neurologist – a doctor specially trained in stroke care. “This new service strengthens primary stroke services by supporting earlier treatment for stroke, and assessment if a higher level of care is necessary,” Acosta said.
This fully interactive technology allows a neurologist to examine a patient as though he or she were sitting at the bedside, download and review the brain scan image and discuss the findings with the patient and ER physicians at ENMMC.
The neurologist can also do a remote examination of the patient through video conferencing, where the patient is able to see and talk to the neurologist. Because the technology can focus on the patient in the exam room and zoom in so close that the patient’s pupils and other vital signs can be assessed, the neurologist is able to evaluate the patient’s condition, make a prompt diagnosis and recommend treatment quickly. In 2013 alone, ENMMC was able to care for and treat 43 patients right here at home by utilizing the teleneurology service that would have otherwise had to be transferred out to an out of town facility.
Additionally, with the expansion of cardiologists on its Medical Staff, ENMMC now has 24/7 availability and coverage of interventional and diagnostic cardiologists. For patients experiencing chest pain or heart attack symptoms, it’s important to know that cardiac specialists are available. The hospital also has a dedicated Cardiac Cath Lab with 24/7 staffed and on-call availability. “This coverage solidifies what was already a very good program,” said Acosta. “With the combined skills and talents of the Emergency Department physicians and staff, and the cardiac specialists on the Medical Staff, more cardiac patients at ENMMC can get the cardiac care they need locally for interventions that used to require a transfer to another facility. With the growth of cardiac services, ENMMC plans to expand diagnostic services this year.
Eastern New Mexico Medical Center not only seeks to serve patients with its programs but also considers physicians and employees’ desire for the best technology to do so. “We are blessed with a loyal group of physicians. We remain focused on physician recruitment and are known to be physician-friendly,” Acosta said. “We continue an aggressive physician recruitment program to continue to help improve local access to primary and specialty care services. We’re competing with hundreds of communities across the country. However, the community’s ongoing support will continue to be important to the hospital’s success with recruiting and retaining physicians.
“The ultimate benefit of the hospital’s investments goes to patients, who have access to a higher quality of care and some of the most advanced technologies in the region. And staying local, patients have the support of family and friends. Plus, it helps to drive the local economy. Everyone wins.”