10/27/10 Indiana’s rural Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) will soon have the ability to connect through the use of video conferencing thanks to a funding award from the Indiana State Department of Health and the Community Hospital of Bremen is involved.

 The grant, awarded to the Indiana Rural Health Association (IRHA) in September, will allow the IRHA to utilize existing video conferencing infrastructure through fiber optics recently deployed under the Indiana Telehealth Network (ITN).  This new support will allow specialists to be brought in for consultations, diagnoses to be made faster, travel and transfer to be drastically reduced and the quality of health care to improve. 

 “We are excited to see Indiana’s rural areas benefit from the technology now available, said State Health Commissioner, Gregory Larkin, M.D. “The ability to use video conferencing will undoubtedly break down barriers that can limit Hoosiers in rural areas from receiving the most up-to-date health care.”

 Video conferencing will aid CAHs in planning and implementing evidence-based strategies for improving financial performance through training modules offered through video library and conferencing, as well as support the hospitals and other community providers in developing local or regional systems health care.

 “The use of video conferencing in rural areas has been proven to extend the capabilities of hospital staff from an educational, clinical, and quality perspective,” said Ann Alley, Director of the Office of Primary Care and Rural Health at the Indiana State Department of Health.

 A pilot program will launch at six Indiana CAHs during the 4th quarter of 2010 and grow from there.  Participating hospitals were chosen based on their locations around the state.

 Pilot hospitals include:

  • Bedford Regional Medical Center
  • Community Hospital of Bremen
  • Gibson General
  • Tipton Hospital
  • Rush Memorial Hospital
  • White County Memorial Hospital