2 hospitals to get telemedicine link
A federal grant to Queen's will help establish a network with a Big Island site
Physicians at the Queen's Medical Center may soon be evaluating and suggesting treatment for trauma patients at the North Hawaii Community Hospital in Waimea.
A $481,000 federal grant was awarded to Queen's for a telemedicine system connecting the two hospitals, Queen's officials announced. The total cost is $630,000, which the hospitals will share.
The remote service will allow Queen's doctors to assess patients at the North Hawaii hospital without having to fly them to Honolulu, a news release said.
Doctors and executives of the hospitals said the project will improve trauma care in North Hawaii and provide a unique teaching tool for John A. Burns School of Medicine students.
The equipment will be critical to a new minimally invasive surgery center being established by Dr. William Park at NHCH, the news release said. "Using mini-cameras placed inside a patient's body, a surgeon in Waimea will be able to consult with a QMC surgeon who can see the same images as the local surgeon."
The telemedicine system is expected to be particularly valuable when specialized surgeons in Honolulu are needed quickly for trauma patients in Waimea.
The Queen's trauma team will be able "to immediately assess patients brought to North Hawaii Community Hospital in that first 'golden hour' of care," said Dr. Hao Chih Ho, Queen's trauma medical director.
Stan Berry, chief executive of the North Hawaii hospital, cited a twofold benefit to the grant: "To support the trauma program for a rural community hospital and to provide state-of-the-art minimally invasive surgery equipment."
Queen's President Arthur Ushijima said U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye helped to get the funding from Congress through the U.S. Department of Energy.