EMMC Uses iPod in Teletrauma Service

03/23/2011

Bangor, ME—The call came in just after midnight from The Aroostook Medical Center. A skiing accident had caused craniofacial injuries in a young patient. Such injuries usually involve a referral to a maxillofacial surgeon in Bangor, and the physician on the scene wanted a consultation with a trauma surgeon. With this call, a first-of-its-kind pilot program at Eastern Maine Medical Center using hand-held devices for teletrauma got its first real-time application. 

Using an iPod Touch®, Rafael J. Grossmann Zamora, MD, a trauma surgeon at EMMC, talked with the physician who is participating in the EMMC m-health (mobile health) pilot and also had an iPod, quickly discussed the circumstances of the injury. “I was able to see very clearly the examination of the patient, including the patient’s pupils during the neurological examination. The high definition video was crystal clear; in fact, both the audio and video were even better than we had hoped.” 

Not only was the physician in Presque Isle able to confer with Dr. Grossmann, but the patient and her mother were able to see and hear every part of the consultation. This gave them confidence that the plan to remain in Presque Isle for her care was the right choice. 

“We believe EMMC is the first hospital to use this technology for teletrauma,” said Dr. Grossmann. According to Mary McCarthy, RN, manager of EMMC’s Telemedicine Center, “this technology is incredibly portable, accessible, affordable, and easy to use, as Dr. Grossmann demonstrated last night.” 

“In this particular case, there was an added advantage,” notes Dr. Grossmann, “because with pediatric patients you can give the parent that extra reassurance that their child is getting the right care. In her case, there was no need to transport her in the middle of the night, saving time and expense. We are very excited that we’ve been able to lead the nation in the practical use of this technology to improve service to our patients,” adds Dr. Grossmann. 

In addition to the Aroostook County Medical Center, Blue Hill Memorial Hospital, Inland Hospital, Mayo Regional Hospital, Sebasticook Valley Hospital, Penobscot Bay Medical Center, and LifeFlight of Maine’s Bangor-based aircraft are also participating in the pilot.