GREAT FALLS — If you're ever a critical care patient at the Great Falls Clinic Hospital, don't be surprised if your doctor wheels a big monitor in to your room for you to interact with another doctor. "We'll have a discussion with the attending physician and if they agree it makes sense to have telemedicine involved then we will see the patient,” said Access Physicians CEO Chris Gallagher.
Great Falls Clinic Hospital is partnering with a multispecialty telemedicine physician group called Access Physicians to bring tele-pulmonary and critical care to its patients.
"There's a three-bed ICU. So we're going to make sure we build (the program) the right way to give them the best capabilities of handling sicker patients with the vision of building to a larger nine-bed ICU to handle a greater number of patients, to enhance their ability to not only handle patients that are coming out of the operating room who have complications but also those that present at the ER,” Gallagher explained.
Pulmonary critical care support is just one of the telehealth services Access Physicians offers.
Great Falls Clinic CEO Wayne Gillis said this service makes the most sense for the clinic. "We've got internal med, we've got hospitalists, cardiologists, the cardiothoracic surgeon and we have regular pulmonologists. But to add that pulmonary critical care piece to those really complex, complicated cases is a big win for us,” said Gillis.
While the service will benefit the patients, it will also be beneficial for the doctors treating the patients: "There's somebody on call and there's a backup person on call, so within two to three minutes we've got that (consultation) rolling,” Gillis said.
Over the next two years, Gillis said, the clinic plans to add pulmonary critical care physicians on site but still keep the Telehealth service for shifts when the physicians aren’t working.