February 13, 2020
HCA Virginia First in Region to Offer Telehealth for Maternal-Fetal Care Technology allows doctors to evaluate, treat, and diagnose patients in remote locations
Richmond, VA – Physicians with HCA Virginia specializing in maternal-fetal medicine and the treatment of high-risk pregnancies are now able to remotely treat patients they are unable to see in person, via telehealth. This makes HCA Virginia the first in the region to bring high risk maternal-fetal care to patients in their home community.
The CDC estimates that about 700 women die from pregnancy-related complications each year in the United States, and about three in five pregnancy-related deaths could be prevented.
According to James T. Christmas, M.D., maternal and fetal medicine specialist with HCA Virginia’s Perinatal Centers, the United States is faced with an unacceptably high rate of severe morbidity and mortality and part of that is because of relatively poor access to high level perinatal care in some areas.
“HCA Healthcare has invested in figuring out a way to make Telehealth work very well in perinatal medicine,” said Christmas. “The goal of TeleMFM is to be able to provide the same experience to the patient in a virtual setting.”
The Tele maternal-fetal medicine clinics (TeleMFM) are staffed by highly trained MFM sonographers and nurses to provide onsite care for patients. The maternal fetal medicine provider uses the telehealth platform from a remote location to review the patients’ ultrasound and clinical history, and then, conducts a consult with the patient and onsite clinical staff just as if they were in the room.
The provider is able to watch ultrasound scans live and can interact with the patient by drawing and pointing directly on the ultrasound images through utilization of the video platform. This extends the reach and impact of the provider, allowing them to see patients in multiple locations of the state within the same day.
Additional key program attributes include more appointment availability to meet the needs of patients’ busy schedules, reduced patient travel time, reduced time away from work and family, decrease in patient stress, and the support to local community medical care and services.
“We are continually thinking of better ways to offer specialized services to areas that aren’t in tertiary care hospitals ,” said Christmas. “With the set up that we have, we can offer care to almost anywhere on the globe, providing patient services that can improve outcomes.”