Arizona Telemedicine Blog Book - Page 16

Telemedicine Helps Arizona Hospital Survive the Rural Hospital Closure Trend B y J an e E r i k s o n o n April 9, 2015 A t a time when small rural hospitals are increasingly closing their doors, Bisbee’s Copper Queen Community Hospital is bucking the trend. One can point to a number of reasons why the 14-bed critical access hospital, 10 miles north of the Arizona-Mexico border, is able to maintain a healthy bottom line. One reason is Copper Queen’s robust use of telemedicine. It started with telestroke, in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic – Phoenix. Former Bisbee Mayor Jack Porter says Copper Queen’s telestroke service enabled him to walk within a few hours of a paralyzing ischemic event. “I didn’t have a stroke,” Mr. Porter tells people. “I had a stroke of luck.” In a small town like Bisbee – population about 5,400 – word gets around. Marketing 101. The benefits of telemedicine were obvious to Copper Queen CEO Jim 16 Dickson, and over the last few years the hospital has added telecardiology, teleneurology, teleconcussion, teleburn and telepediatrics, and Mr. Dickson is “now looking at teleorthopaedics.” “We’re becoming a virtual hospital in the specialty levels of medicine,” he declares. And it’s paying off. “With telecardiology, in six months, we saved over $1.4 million in transportation fees, by not having to ship people with atrial fib to Tucson and Phoenix. “And just in the last two years, we’ve had enough broadband to do telemedicine in our three clinics. I can tell you that we’re the first hospital in the United States to use telecardiology in our ER, in med-surg and in our clinics.” Neurology and teleconcussion are additional services for which Copper Queen partners with Mayo Clinic – Phoenix. Teleconcussion includes baseline