Essentia Uses Telehealth to Serve Patients

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People in the metro probably don’t think twice about going to see a doctor.

But what about those in rural areas who don’t have easy access to medical facilities?

Essentia has been using technology to help patients for quite some time.

It’s called telehealth and two patients shared how it’s changed their lives.

“You check in. A nurse comes and takes all your vitals does your weight and goes through your medications and takes your blood pressure,” says Jeanne Burchill.

Jeanne Burchill is describing what sounds like your typical doctor’s visit.

The only difference is when it comes time to see her doctor, she looks to a computer screen.

Dr. Steve Park demonstrates what’s called telehealth at a Fargo conference.

In dealing with weight loss, he has a healthy eating approach.

He says by seeing his patients via video, he’s able to hold them accountable.

It’s very appealing for patients like Burchill who lives in Valley City.

“It’s getting harder and harder to see any specialists where you are without having to travel a great distance and here in North Dakota in the winter that can be as dangerous as whatever condition you’re dealing with,” Burchill says.

Burchill has been struggling with weight loss issues but her options were limited so she gave telehealth a go… and it’s paid off.

“Dr. Park knows my medical history probably better than any provider I’ve had mainly because he studies it,” says Burchill.

During his consultations, Park has two computer screens up, one of those containing his patient’s entire medical history.

“I was a little uncomfortable with things like Skype which is sort of similar with talking to people on a computer,” says Carole Topp of Pelican Rapids.

Carole Topp is another one of Park’s weight loss patients and she had reservations at first. But living in Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, it was her best option.

“It’s pretty limited unless you have a really strong will power and can do it on your own, and that didn’t seem to work really well for me in the last 5-10 years,” says Topp.

And after one year with Park, Topp is already halfway to her weight loss goal.

“The telehealth doesn’t make it any less personal than it would be if you had the provider right there,” Topp says.

Weight loss isn’t the only service offered via telehealth.

Other services include toxicology, allergy, behavioral health, cardiology, child psychology, infectious disease and much more.

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Categories: North Dakota News