UPMC Northwest Introduces New Service for Patients with Sight-Threatening Conditions
Northwest Hospital Foundation and the Teleconsult Center at UPMC Northwest are teaming up to provide patients with state of the art ophthalmology evaluation services using newly acquired digital retinal scanning equipment and telemedicine technology that provide direct access to medical specialists at the UPMC Eye and Ear Institute in Pittsburgh.
UPMC Northwest has acquired a Centervue Digital Retinography System (DRS) and telemedicine cart designed specifically for use with the new ophthalmology equipment through a generous grant from the Northwest Hospital Foundation.
“This new technology provides patients at Northwest with quick diagnosis and treatment of potentially sight-threatening conditions without delay by an ophthalmology specialist in Pittsburgh via live audio/video feed while collaborating with our on-site physician experts,” said David Gibbons, UPMC Northwest president.
He adds, “We are pleased that once again, through telemedicine technology, we are able to provide our patients and families access to world class, highly specialized medical care in their home community without the need to travel long distances.”
Following the initial ophthalmology consultation either in Northwest’s Emergency Department or an inpatient unit, digital retinal scanning using the new Centerview DRS equipment is available to patients suffering from Diabetic Retinopathy and other sight-threatening conditions.
James McLaughlin, DO, neurologist at UPMC Northwest and medical director of the Teleconsult Center, is enthusiastic about the newest service in the telemedicine program saying, “With the DRS equipment available 24/7 to both adult and pediatric patients, we can now get a thorough ocular exam including detailed photographs of the retina in a much shorter time.”
He continues, “Our ophthalmology experts, either at Northwest or in Pittsburgh at the Ear and Eye Institute, have the luxury of seeing patients in real time with more advanced imagery available, thus shortening the time from examination to diagnosis to treatment.”
“Another great advantage is that the images generated by the Centervue equipment becomes part of the patient’s permanent electronic record and can be used as a baseline for comparison of future exams.”According to Theresa Edder, executive director of the Northwest Hospital Foundation, “Because the foundation is committed to supporting UPMC Northwest in its mission to provide high-quality health care for area residents, this project is a perfect example of how community support is so vital to the future of health care in Venango County.”
UPMC Northwest neurologist James McLaughlin, D.O. demonstrates the operation of UPMC Northwest’s new digital retinal scanning equipment for nursing student Betsy Jones.
In addition to assisting with the acquisition of specialized equipment and services at UPMC Northwest, projects funded by the Northwest Hospital Foundation include providing financial assistance to patients who do not have the resources to pay their hospital expenses, underwriting construction projects and other hospital building enhancements, providing grants for health education, awareness and prevention, as well as building an endowment fund to cover future capital costs and other hospital needs.