Monday, October 12, 2009

Patient Care Improving

Saratoga Hospital in N.Y. is working with the Albany Medical Center to speed up the evaluation process when treating stroke patients from the Saratoga region. The two hospitals are linked electronically enabling emergency physicians at Saratoga Hospital and stroke specialists at Albany Medical Center to provide faster access to cutting-edge treatments when appropriate.

The physicians are able to view patient scans simultaneously in real-time and to consult on the best course of treatment. The technology used streamlines the process for identifying those patients who need advanced care, and then sends them to the Albany Medical Center sooner.

An inter-institutional medical team quickly decides what treatments to begin in Saratoga and whether to admit the patient to the Saratoga Hospital or transfer the patient immediately to Albany Medical Center. The Center in Albany is the only Capital Region facility with advanced certification in stroke from the Joint Commission and offers additional stroke and neuroendovascular therapies.

“We have always worked closely with Albany Medical Center to arrange transport for patients who need more advanced intervention,” said Angelo Calbone, Saratoga Hospital President and CEO. “Now, we’re taken another step and we are using technology to share vital patient information so that care begun at Saratoga Hospital can continue uninterrupted at the Medical Center.”

Also, on September 1, 2009, the Albany Medical Center was awarded a $242,000 grant from the New York State Health Foundation to fund the improved “Access to Behavioral Health Care” project. The intent of the project is to increase access to comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services for children in the Capital Region with behavioral and mental health needs.

The New York State Health Foundation grant will provide bridge funding to support the expansion of Albany Medical Center’s current services which includes diagnostic assessments, medication management, psychological testing, treatment, and counseling. Funding will support a team of highly trained, experienced behavioral specialists including a developmental and behavioral pediatrician, a nurse practitioner, a clinical psychologist, and two doctoral level therapists.

In addition, the funding will enable the team to provide education and outreach to primary care providers and community organizations who currently struggle to care for pediatric patients with behavioral health needs due to a lack of resources, time constraints, and a limited knowledge base.