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Tuesday
Feb182014

e-Emergency

       Dr. Donald Kosiak Jr. pictured on the eEmergency screen with Stacy Wiest, Director of Outpatient Services (left) and Carly Jonas, RN (right) in Wishek's ER.One of the world's largest telemedicine systems is available right in the Wishek Hospital Emergency Room. It’s called eEmergency. This two-way video technology program directed by Wishek native Dr. Donald Kosiak Jr., makes it possible for rural medical staff to connect with a larger institution for assistance in medical emergencies. The eEmergency room at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D. is staffed with nurses and doctors 24/7, 365 days a year and is available in seconds through the simple push of a button.
       It took about three years for Dr. Kosiak and his team’s dream for eEmergency to become a reality, but within the past five, eEmergency has been launched in 85 medical facilities across seven states. In 2010, Wishek became one of the first pilots of the program in North Dakota. “They went through a lot of a growing pains with us early on, but they have helped us learn what is supportive for a rural hospital and what is not,” said Dr. Kosiak. Much of Dr. Kosiak’s inspiration for eEmergency came from growing up in Wishek. With a father as a local physician, he understood the isolation health care providers sometimes feel. 
       Both Shelly Glaesman, director of nursing, and Polly Benson, PA-C/NP, testify that eEmergency is well utilized by all providers and nursing staff. “It is like having another set of hands, ears, and eyes with specialties,” says Polly. “They are a great support for major trauma.” Immediate X-ray viewing, access to information on the facilities’ medical equipment via electronic medical records, and direct interaction with the patients in the ER are all benefits of eEmergeny that result in the best-educated advice to rural healthcare providers. “I prefer having the comfort at a push  of a button,” says Shelly who commented that the support they give to nurses when the doctor isn't immediately available. 
       Although the eEmergency staff offers advice, it is Wishek’s medical staff that makes the ultimate decision about what to do for the patient. Polly says, “It’s not that we can’t handle things like a heart attack; we can, but when you want another set of eyes or ears, I tell you what, that is when this system is really nice.” Shelly comments that although using eEmergency’s service does not always change the outcome of the patient, it provides large hospital care without having to transport the patient out of Wishek.

 

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