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LSU Telemedicine Delivers the Right Care, at the Right Time, with the Right Doctor Miles Away

LSU telemedicine expands services and increases access.

LSU telemedicine expands services and increases access.

Independence-- With a click of a mouse, LSU telemedicine gives patients in rural Louisiana access to quality subspecialty care, removing the obstacles of the time and cost to travel to major medical hubs in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

The hubs also benefit from this powerful tool, used to full effect at the LSU Lallie Kemp Regional Medical Center in Independence, La.

Lallie Kemp patients not traveling to LSU clinics in New Orleans or Baton Rouge for appointments leave those slots open for others, increasing access there as well.

The numbers prove the point.

From July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2011, patients in the Lallie Kemp Heart Failure Clinic had 413 telemed appointments with LSU cardiologists in New Orleans. Patients in the Lallie Kemp Mental Health Clinic had 159 telemed appointments with JSA Health Telepsychiatry in Houston, Texas. This combined total of 572 telemed appointments opens up a large number of in-person appointment slots at the hubs.

The net result is a tremendous improvement in patients' access to quality healthcare in Independence, New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

"Our LSU subspecialists in New Orleans are using telemedicine technology to serve patients in distant locations who otherwise may not receive the care they require in a timely manner," said Dr. Juzar Ali, Medical Director of the Interim LSU Public Hospital (ILH) in New Orleans. "Telemedicine allows us to expand our service mission of providing healthcare and increasing access."

Lallie Kemp telemedicine heart failure and mental health services first took root two years ago. LSU cardiologist Dr. Vijayendra Jaligam played a key role in the development of telemedicine services. Since November 2011, Lallie Kemp and ILH New Orleans have also launched telemed services for rheumatology, hepatitis C, endocrinology, neurology, dermatology, nephrology, physical medicine and rehabilitation and psychiatry.

ILH and Lallie Kemp expect similar successes with these services.

"Lallie Kemp telemedicine is blossoming, with these services now in full swing," said Dr. Kathleen Willis, Lallie Kemp Medical Director. "Our patients benefit from the attention of both their primary care physician at Lallie Kemp and the LSU subspecialists we have available via telemedicine. It's the best of both worlds."

Ten LSU doctors in New Orleans at ILH are the primary telemed service providers, offering a total of 36 hours of clinic a week for Lallie Kemp, with an additional 14 LSU physicians available for service. They hold telemed consults at the ILH Medical Office Building, behind ILH, and the nearby ILH Poydras clinic space at 1400 Poydras Street.

Both a clinic patient and an employee at Lallie Kemp, Quanesha Diamond experienced telemed first hand. LSU endocrinologist Dr. Robert Richards, in New Orleans, saw her via telemed, and she saw him. "It was real neat, real cool talking to a doctor by TV," she said. "I could see what he was doing, and he could see what I was doing." The telemed visit led to a referral for Ms. Diamond, illustrating another benefit to telemedicine. A face-to-face referral or follow up can be arranged if necessary.

As an admit supervisor, she also sees the benefits for patients. "I haven't heard anything negative about it. My first experience was awesome," she said. "I think it will be convenient for patients."

Without the barriers distance can usually impose, patients receive a continuity of quality healthcare when they need it. "Lallie Kemp telemed will lead to improved outcomes for patients due to convenient follow-up for specialty care while they remain in their medical home," said Dr. Willis.

LSU ILH telemed also offers services in cardiology, endocrinology and psychiatry to the primary care clinic at L.B. Landry High School ILH Community Clinic in Algiers, on New Orleans' West Bank, eliminating the need for the patient's trip across the Mississippi River and strengthening the level of care of the LSU L. B. Landry medical home. This is done through the Community Medicine Program under Dr. Cassandra Youmans and Rhonda Brunner, RN.

By the end of May, Lallie Kemp and Leonard J. Chabert Medical Center, in Houma, La., will also have telemed stroke care available 24 hours a day, providing timely care for the stroke patient when seconds can make a critical difference. The LSU Bogalusa Medical Center, in Bogalusa, La., already has this round-the-clock telemed service in place.

Patients, despite their age or location, are increasingly tech savvy. Lallie Kemp telemed fulfills patients' expectations of the right care, with the right technology, at the right time, for a seamless coordination in their healthcare, from their comprehensive medical home.