Kings county memorial hospital was forced to reduce its emergency hours from 24 hours to operating from 8 am to 10 pm last year which did not go well with the residents. The officials are now considering the use of telemedicine technology in the hospital so as to keep the emergency department open for 24 hours a day. The hospital is a small community hospital with 30 beds. In July last year, the Montague town council supported a local business man’s idea about telemedicine.
Ray Brown told CBC News that the technology was already there and it is nothing they had to worry about since it had already proven its capabilities. The project was estimated to cost about $20,000 to $28,000.He termed the technology as the best available in the world. He compared the case of a person who falls ill at a space station and is immediately attended to through telemedicine and wished the same done for Montague.
The small hospitals in North America have been facing competition from the online telehealth platforms, retail health, and urgent care clinics. Some hospitals like St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital and the Baptist Hospital in Orange, Calif shut down the emergency departments due to business decline since many patients now depend on telemedicine.
It is ironic how small hospitals are striving to get telemedicine programs in their hospitals to enable emergency activities to keep on for 24 hours and to enable their patients to get health care near their homes while large hospitals are doing it to boost their businesses and reduce stress in the emergency department.
Research by the University of Mississippi Medical Center showed that if small hospitals adopted this technology, they would save their staffing cost by a quarter and increase patients’ admission by 20% since they will now keep the patients they could have transferred to the large hospitals.
According to Montague Town Councilor, JIM Bagnall, telemedicine is not something new as it has been used in other parts of Canada and it would be a great opportunity for the residents of Prince Edwards Island.