How Video Calling Helped A Clinician Save A Life

By Gigi Cordero

Anne Carle, RN, Telehealth Clinical Coordinator at Cornerstone VNA in Rochester, NH shares a story about a patient who was able to benefit from the seamless communication that telehealth provides. In Carle's own words:

“Recently, I received a community referral from the Mobile Integrated Healthcare (MIH) program at Frisbie Memorial Hospital (FMH) in Rochester, NH. The referral was to install a Health Recovery Solutions (HRS) telehealth unit for Cornerstone VNA for an MIH patient who had been diagnosed with COPD.  This referral is the result of a new Community Telehealth Paramedicine Program, which merges the community outreach efforts at FMH with the clinical expertise and telehealth technology at Cornerstone VNA. We are able to provide this new Community Telehealth Paramedicine program thanks to a $32,000 E3 Grant from the Cardinal Health Foundation, which was awarded to Cornerstone VNA to help improve health outcomes for high-risk patients.

The FMH Paramedic installed telehealth and did the education and teaching with the patient on the use of the equipment. The next day, I called the patient to continue educating her on the different features of the tablet. The patient expressed to me that she was raising green sputum and was seeing her lung doctor that day. The following day, I called the patient to check on her. She stated that her physician prescribed her a steroid and antibiotic. However, she mentioned to me that when she inhaled, her right lung hurt—a new symptom since her doctor’s visit.  On the phone, I could hear her troubled breathing. So I immediately video called her from ClinicianConnectTM to her tablet.  

Through the telehealth face to face conferencing, I could see she was in trouble; she was pale/grayish in color and working hard to take her breaths. Her morning vitals appeared to be stable, but then I noticed as I was talking with the patient that her saturations dropped to 78%. I reassured her that I was going to call the FMH Paramedics to come to her home to evaluate her.  Her husband was scared and unsure what to do so I gave him emotional support.  The Paramedic went to the patient’s home and the patient was transported to FMH and admitted for pneumonia.

I wanted to share this because the one feature of telehealth I most value is the video communication capabilities of the software. I like being able to see the patient at a moment’s notice. Vital signs can be perfect but looking at that patient and listening to their voice tells a bigger story. While, I was not able to prevent a hospital admission in this situation, telehealth helped me to see and realize that this patient needed immediate medical attention.

Once the patient was stable in the hospital, she called to let me know she was doing okay and to say thank you for my help and for placing her on the telehealth program.”

Anne Carle has been a registered nurse at Cornerstone VNA for five years. She is an advocate for telehealth among patients and clinicians. Her hard work and dedication to promoting the use of technology to help home health patients led her to win the 2017 Telehealth Honors®. You can read her bio and more on the telehealthhonors.com website.

 

Tags: telehealth, telemedicine, remote patient monitoring, patient success story

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