Citizens at the Kane Regional Centers will soon have a new friend in the physician’s office: “Telly,” a tele-presence digi-cam rig that can connect to a remote doctor and gather healthcare details during exams. The rig is part of a UPMC-run program called RAVEN or Initiative to Reduce Avoidable Hospitalizations Using evidence-based Interventions for Nursing Facilities in Western Pennsylvania, which is financed by a $19 million grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
“Bringing tele-medicine to the Kane Centers will enhance the speed and performance of patient care with which residents receive healthcare consultations when there is a change in their health,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said. “It will also slow up the need to transport residents to a medical center or E.R., which is difficult for some of them.” “Telly” will not substitute doctors, who will still perform routine exams. It’ll only be used when an individual’s condition changes, along with a shift in breathing, heart function or pain. The robot-like rig will be monitored by physicians and can examine the eyes, ears, nasal area, neck, respiratory system, heart, stomach, skin, arms and legs and neurological system.
The rig looks like a pc monitor on wheels with a digi-cam secured on top. It comes equipped with tools like a wireless stethoscope, which can pass on details to a doctor at another location. Close relatives will be able to listen in via PC and telephone. “We recognize that a patient’s doctor or health professional specialist is sometimes not available at the skilled nursing facility to assess and treat the citizen when there is a change in their usual health,” Kane Executive Director Dennis Biondo said. “The goal is to provide ongoing access to high-quality patient care and health-care professionals.”