High-tech healthcare helps eliminate unnecessary hospital visits

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A high-tech version of healthcare is becoming more and more popular. (WPVI)

A high-tech version of healthcare is becoming more and more popular.

It's called TeleMedicine. And in many cases, it helps keep people out of the hospital.

Right now, there's a big push to cut the rate of people who are re-admitted to the hospital.

It not only saves money, but it also lowers the risk for infection and other complication. Plus, it helps keep patients more comfortable.

Sue and Charlie Lake just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. They both live at Meadowood Senior Living.

Because 91-year-old Mr. Lake has health problems, he stays at the skilled nursing facility.

They demonstrated their new TripleCare Telemedicine system for us.

On nights, weekends or holidays when there isn't a doctor in person at the center, there's one available through cyberspace.

With nurses help, a doctor can do a thorough examination. The camera can zoom in to look for swelling, lesions or discoloration.

The stethoscope is also connected. What nurses hear, the doctor hears at the same time.

"It's like Skype except that you have all the dimensions, you have all the senses that the physician can hone in on," said Sally-Ann Heckert Bikin, attorney and Director of Nursing at Meadowood.

Mrs. Lake tells Action News she was skeptical about the new technology at first.

"I say I don't think it's going to work. You are going to lose the face to face," she said.

But when her husband got sick on a Sunday night, with the help of TripleCare they were able to diagnose and treat him in his room as opposed to being transported by ambulance to the hospital.

"I went from saying it's not going to work to telling everyone this is such a great thing," said Sue.

"So far, we've had 16 calls and out of 16, 13 we were able to treat here in the patient's room," said Lynn Plepis, Clinical Informatics at Meadowood.

Mr Lake was one of those 13.

TripleCare is also set up to keep up the information private and secure.

Many other centers are using similar technology.
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