Technology offers online doctors appointments for Fort Smith patients

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Once a week, Barb Goldsby’s doctor making a house call. And he does it through her iPad.Telemedicine is one of the newest and fastest growing uses of technology by hospitals across the country. “I think it’s great. I think truly it’s one of the best things that’s happened in medicine,” said Barb Goldsby, a Mercy telemedicine patient in Fort Smith.Barb’s in Fort Smith. Her Doctor is in St. Louis. “They call me for a regular appointment once a week. Once a month I generally talk to my doctor,” said Barb.Dr. Kirtane stays updated on Barb’s blood pressure, temperature and pulse through blue tooth and mobile apps. It sends him her vital signs daily – allowing him to monitor her health from 350 miles away. “It’s quite innovative,” said Dr. Kirtane. “One of the big issues with healthcare is trying to remove barriers and trying to get people treatment as quickly as possible and with telehealth and telemedicine we are removing a lot of those barriers.” Mercy started their V-engagement program in 2015. Now there are nearly 3 thousand patients enrolled in the program, including 500 physicians. To date, there has been more than 150-thousand virtual appointments. And doctors say it’s only going to grow. “The patients really, really appreciate how quickly we are able to attend to their complaints and come up with a treatment plan and treat them in their home. Sometimes a process would take days, we can cut it down to hours,” said Dr. Kirtane.Other benefits of telemedicine include no waiting, no parking, no traveling to the doctor’s office. “it’s like having a doctor next door. It’s like being able to go to your neighbor and say, hey, I’ve got this problem going on,” said Barb.More than 7 million patients will use the technology this year.

Once a week, Barb Goldsby’s doctor making a house call. And he does it through her iPad.

Telemedicine is one of the newest and fastest growing uses of technology by hospitals across the country.

“I think it’s great. I think truly it’s one of the best things that’s happened in medicine,” said Barb Goldsby, a Mercy telemedicine patient in Fort Smith.

Barb’s in Fort Smith. Her Doctor is in St. Louis.

“They call me for a regular appointment once a week. Once a month I generally talk to my doctor,” said Barb.

Dr. Kirtane stays updated on Barb’s blood pressure, temperature and pulse through blue tooth and mobile apps. It sends him her vital signs daily – allowing him to monitor her health from 350 miles away.

“It’s quite innovative,” said Dr. Kirtane. “One of the big issues with healthcare is trying to remove barriers and trying to get people treatment as quickly as possible and with telehealth and telemedicine we are removing a lot of those barriers.”

Mercy started their V-engagement program in 2015. Now there are nearly 3 thousand patients enrolled in the program, including 500 physicians. To date, there has been more than 150-thousand virtual appointments. And doctors say it’s only going to grow.

“The patients really, really appreciate how quickly we are able to attend to their complaints and come up with a treatment plan and treat them in their home. Sometimes a process would take days, we can cut it down to hours,” said Dr. Kirtane.

Other benefits of telemedicine include no waiting, no parking, no traveling to the doctor’s office.

“it’s like having a doctor next door. It’s like being able to go to your neighbor and say, hey, I’ve got this problem going on,” said Barb.

More than 7 million patients will use the technology this year.

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