Big Island hospital tries telemedicine
The North Hawaii Community Hospital is turning to technology to help alleviate the doctor shortage in at least one specialty on the Big Island.
Radiology health care professionals from Cleveland Clinic, one of the nation's top-ranked medical facilities, will be providing their services to the Big Island hospital through telemedicine.
Using a new digital Picture Archive and Communication System -- or PACS -- the Big Island hospital is able to replace X-ray film with a digital imaging and storage system, meaning all images are now stored and transmitted electronically.
The PACS system will allow North Hawaii Community Hospital to offer after-hours coverage and specialty consultation services for Cleveland Clinic and vice versa. A staff radiologist on duty in one location will immediately read an X-ray or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) film at the other after peak operating hours, bridging the time-zone gap.
"We're proud to be a leader among small rural hospitals in bringing the services of a large urban medical center to our patients," said Dr. Kenneth M. Riff, executive director of the Heart Brain Center at North Hawaii Community Hospital.