In an effort to continue providing our patients with the finest in health care, Utah Navajo Health System, Inc. has expanded its tele-medicine arsenal with University of Utah Health Care to include tele-urology.
According to UNHS Medical Director, Dr. Val Jones, officials at University of Utah Health Care reached out to UNHS with the idea of tele-urology. UUHC has already been doing tele-urology at several remote locations, similar to UNHS, Jones explained, and they thought it would be a nice addition for UNHS. According to Jones, the urology group at UUHC will set up regular appointments with a urologist for patients who will be at UNHS clinic sites.
"We make the appointment on the urologist's schedule and the patient will be here with the tele-medicine camera. The urologists have reviewed what kind of urologic problems they think would be appropriate for a tele-urology visit and there are a lot of problems, interestingly enough, that could be handled in a tele-medicine visit: such as prostate problems or kidney stone management, where often the physical exam and the hands on part of the evaluation is not a critical part of the diagnosis or management," Jones explained. "We will have appropriate urine, blood and radiology tests done prior to the visit so that they can be reviewed with the urologist.
"If during the tele-urology visit a determination is made that a procedure needs to be done, such as kidney stone extraction, an appointment for that procedure can be scheduled at that time. The advantage would be that everything would be set up at the tele-urology visit so that the procedure could be done in a single trip. The patient could get right in, have the procedure done without another evaluation," Jones continued. "All of the pre-surgical tests and work-up would be done locally. The trip to the urologist would then be very effective and time saving for the patient. They've talked to the doctor, they know what's going to happen and so it's going to save people time and travel expenses seeing a specialist."
The tele-medicine program is mushrooming as far as the number of specialty services we are offering and I just don't see a limit. The quality of the video equipment is such that we have been able to provide effective dermatology services."
As far as tele-neurology goes, Jones noted that Russell Pincock, DNP, spent several weeks working with UUHC Neurologists to learn the specifics the neurological exam. During the tele-neurology visit, Dr. Pincock is with the patient, in view of the neurologist, performing the neuro exam. This has been highly productive. We might model this for what we do in other specialties as needed.
Jones said he can see other areas where Tele-medicine can be used. He said UNHS would really like to add Rheumatology.