Half a million dollar grant allows Aspirus patients to connect - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Half a million dollar grant allows Aspirus patients to connect with doctors using Internet


by Brittany Earl

WAUSAU (WAOW)--Aspirus Hospital is helping senior citizens better communicate with their doctors using technology similar to Skype.

Communication technology has been around for more than half a century helping people in the world connect. Aspirus Hospital is excited to apply that technology to medicine after receiving a grant on Thursday of more than $480,000 using a program called Telemedicine.

Jean Burgener, Vice President of Aspirus Post Acute Care says, "The real key word with Telemedicine is connectivity, it allows for the patient who is remote to connect with their physicians and allows for the physician who is also remote connect with physicians here in Wausau."

Burgener says Aspirus provides healthcare to 14 counties in Wisconsin and 7 counties in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. For many elderly patients who live in rural areas health care services are unreliable or non existent. With the help of Telemedicine patients won't have to travel and still virtually see their doctor.

"It's allowing their patients to be remote and still talk and have that video opportunity with their physician. It allows the physicians here to see an incision," says Bergener.

Aspirus's information technology team says the hospital has already started using Telecommunication in other ways. With the grant the hospital can set up Telemedicine connections at about 30 Aspirus locations in Wisconsin giving some of the most vulnerable residents promising care.

Jerry Mourey, Aspirus's Chief Information Officer says, "Each time a specialty physician has to drive to a remote location to serve a patient and instead we can help them be virtually there by video conferencing interactions, that's a great thing."

The Department of Agriculture awarded the grant to Aspirus to help establish the new technology but Aspirus has already implemented Telemedicine in other ways so leaders say that will give them a leg up.

Online Reporter: Brittany Earl

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