Hospitals team up to serve patients

Published 9:41 am Friday, June 3, 2022

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

The hospitals of Ascension St. Vincent’s Chilton and UAB Hospital in Birmingham have partnered to bring tele-critical and tele-stroke programs to the Chilton County community.

The partnership will provide patients at St. Vincent’s Chilton with vital care closer to home that will save time in patients time of need.

“We are excited about the advancement in patient care that we have been able to provide this community through our alliance with UAB,” Ascension St. Vincent’s Chilton Administrator Shanon Hamilton said. “The eICU and the tele-stroke programs are the first ways in which we are exploring this partnership with UAB, but these will likely not be the last at Ascension St. Vincent’s Chilton.”

The tele-critical program, also known as the eICU, will connect St. Vincent’s Chilton practitioners with UAB intensivists to consult about patients. The UAB tele-critical care staff will review the patient’s medical records, do a virtual consult and speak with the patient.

“The eICU has provided additional specialist coverage in our ICU to allow us to care for a broader range of patient conditions,” Hamilton said. “Having the ability to consult with UAB intensivists and have them assist in the care of our sickest patients is a tremendous benefit to those we serve.”

After the patient’s consult, teams from both hospitals will collaborate to provide any treatment needs to the patients. UAB will monitor the patients each day they remain in St. Vincent’s Chilton’s care.

“The Tele-ICU program provides an extremely valuable service to our local community.  We are able to bring the specialized knowledge of UAB critical care specialists to the bedside, providing the highest quality care for critically ill patients,” Sean Vanlandingham, chief medical officer at Ascension St. Vincent’s Chilton, said in a press release. “I am grateful to our local hospitalist physicians and the remote UAB intensivists who have partnered together seamlessly to make this program a success.”

The tele-stroke program will cut down on precious minutes residents need when having a stroke-like medical emergency. The program brings on-demand stroke consults when Chilton County residents come into St. Vincent’s Chilton with stroke-like symptoms. A UAB neurologist and the on-site St. Vincent’s Chilton physician will administer the National Institute of Health stroke test on a patient and examine them to determine the severity of the stroke.

The neurologist will help with reviewing the patient’s scans, and provide recommendations to the St. Vincent’s physicians who will administer the inpatient care.

“We have provided tele-stroke coverage since we opened in 2016,” Hamilton said.  “The UAB tele-stroke platform is allowing us the ability to take our stroke program to the next level by ensuring consistency within our program based on implementing best in class stroke protocols and the integration of UAB neurologists into the Ascension St. Vincent’s Emergency Department care team.”

Ascension St. Vincent’s Chilton is one of 10 hospitals in the state of Alabama to join UAB’s tele-critical care program, and one of 20 hospitals in the state to join the tele-stroke program.