St. Peter's Health awarded $1.2 million grant for Tele-Emergency Medical Services

Posted at 3:25 PM, Oct 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-02 20:39:12-04

HELENA — St. Peter’s Health was awarded a $1.2 million grant to implement Tele-Emergency Medical Services.

“A new service for patients, in that, they can now talk through this technology to providers through a secure audio, visual connection, rather than going in and being physically seen and that's appropriate sometimes, sometimes it's not," says Jon Griffin, Chief Medical Innovation Officer at St. Peter’s Health.

Jon Griffin is explaining the benefits behind Tele-Emergency Medical Services. These services include having a reliable, visual and audio communication system between the healthcare facility and the first responders on scene. Griffin states this type of communication will improve care to those in rural and local areas and decrease the amount of patients in the emergency rooms.

"The EMS teams will be able to go to somebody's house and if they say, 'wow, this is a scenario where, for instance, we need a behavioral health specialist to talk to this patient.’ Then we can virtually or digitally connect to a behavioral health specialist and facilitate a visit that patient needs at that moment,” explains Griffin. “[This can work better] rather than them traveling to the emergency room and waiting in a room that's not the best environment for what their needs are at that moment."

St. Peter’s Health says they already have 10 local and rural first response partners, like volunteer fire departments, ready to participate in this technology. The Health Resources and Services Administration granted St. Peter's $300,000 for the next four years with the hope of having as many partners on board by the second year.

St. Peter's Health will be hiring coordinators and more individuals to help fully implement these new services.

St. Peter's Health was one of 30 organizations across 23 states to be awarded funding for the Telehealth Network Grant.