It’s not quite as advanced as the hologram of a doctor on Star Trek, but a Cedar Rapids hospital is linking up with that community’s largest private employer to offer a new type of remote medical care.
MercyCare Community Physicians is opening what it’s calling a Telehealth Clinic on the main campus of Rockwell Collins. Mercy’s Katie Ripke says it will offer Rockwell employees convenient, same-day office visits.
“They’ll come into the clinic, they’ll register and get taken back to a room by a nurse just like a traditional office visit,” Ripke says. “Once they get back there, the nurse will take their vitals and then instead of leaving the room for the doctor to come in, they will pull the doctor up on the screen and the doctor will be at a different location. Throughout the visit, the nurse will remain in the room to conduct the diagnostics.”
It’s a first-of-its kind partnership in Iowa and this will be one of only a few such clinics in the nation offering on-site, Telehealth technology to provide care to employees. “The doctor will actually be able to see everything that he would normally see in a traditional office setting but everything is done through audio-visual equipment,” Ripke says. “The equipment is so high-tech and high-definition, quite frankly, they can hear things better through the stethoscope than they can even in a traditional office setting.”
Through the main video feed, the doctor is able to interact with the patient and give instruction, while a separate video feed allows the physician to see detailed images from the diagnostic equipment. A host of ailments can be addressed. “It’s very similar to an urgent care clinic,” Ripke says. “Most acute things, somewhere around 80% of the things that you would be seen in an urgent care setting for, you could be seen in the Telehealth setting for, things like sore throats, sinus infections, ear infections, urinary tract infections, those types of things.”
The service will launch next week and will be available to employees of the avionics giant — and their dependents over age five — who subscribe to specific health plans. Rockwell Collins has about 87-hundred workers in Cedar Rapids.