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Telemedicine helps patients stay near homes

Treating people locally doesn’t always mean the doctor has to be in town.

“We have been working very hard to keep care and medical visits local,” Warren General Hospital CEO Rick Allen said.

The hospital’s partnership with Allegheny Health Network has resulted in telemedicine opportunities in a number of specialties.

“We have been working with AHN to bring medical specialists visits to Warren,” Allen said. “We have been using this service now for a few months” through referrals.

“Advances in tele-medicine allow or facilitate ‘virtual’ specialist visits,” Allen said. “You get to stay local — in Warren — which saves a lot of time and personal travel expense.”

“The medical specialist visit is coordinated by an RN, a Physician Assistant, or a Nurse Practitioner,” he said. “If a more detailed visit is required , that would be arranged following the ‘virtual’ visit.”

“AHN is offering the following medical specialists via tele-visit at the North Warren AHN OB/GYN Office: endocrinology, pulmonology, and rheumatology,” he said. “Cardiology continues to be offered in person with Erie Based Cardiologists.”

The offerings will continue to expand. “I am looking to expand the medical specialties offered in the future – dermatology , neurology , advanced maternal/fetal , etc.,” Allen said.

“The AHN office in North Warren serves as a centralized hub where specialty tele-visit services are provided,” Executive Director of Operations Dan Grolemund said. “We are very excited to be able to offer these expanded services to the members of our community.”

The hospital also has some in-house telemedicine offerings.

“We are now up and operational with tele-stroke in the Emergency Room and we are using tele-psychiatry on the Behavioral Health Unit.,” Allen said.

“In the Emergency Room, the tele-stroke service — ER doctor to Stroke specialist — is an outstanding tool to help deliver the best care possible in a critical time,” Allen said. “Also , many patients may be able to stay in WGH for follow up care. The tele-neurology will also help if stroke patients are admitted.”

“This furthers our vision at Warren General — offering exceptional care close to home,” Allen said. “Certainly it helps to have a strong clinical partner like AHN and AHN Saint Vincent.”

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