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Advanced Technology Improves Patient Care

Leadership Blog

From Bedside to Beyond: Advanced Technology Improves Patient Care

By Justin Gnau, Chief Information Officer, St. Luke’s Health

August 07, 2023 Posted in: Leadership
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At St. Luke’s Health (SLH), we’re embracing the future with significant advances in technology to improve patient outcomes and increase efficiency. From virtual visits to artificial intelligence, health care technology at SLH is changing the way we deliver health care, making it more accessible, efficient and personalized.

Virtual Visits Beyond COVID-19 

With widespread closures during the pandemic, accessing health care was a real challenge for many patients. In order to serve these patients more effectively, SLH was able to rapidly expand the scope of its telehealth and telemedicine services. The technology became a crucial resource for providing care while ensuring patient safety. Today, virtual visits continue to grow in popularity as patients and clinicians alike recognize their value. 

Although more patients are returning to in-person visits, virtual visits continue to play an important role in providing medical care, particularly for individuals who need help managing chronic disease. The convenience they offer is appealing. We now provide virtual visits for all specialties, from primary care to OB/GYN to oncology.

Using Tech to Address Staffing Shortages

SLH also uses virtual care functions to optimize clinical productivity on hospital floors and clinics and to improve patient experience and outcomes.

  • Artificial intelligence has been an invaluable asset for SLH stroke teams, as it can help detect potential strokes, enabling health care professionals to make quick and informed decisions for the patient. Using artificial intelligence, a cloud-based system can provide the stroke team with notifications about affected areas of the patient’s brain within seconds. The technology enables more synchronicity of care by automatically analyzing and disseminating scan results to all physicians on the care team so they can facilitate prompt and precise treatment.

  • Neuroscience Telestroke Network employs video conferencing technology to connect distinguished neurointensivists from Baylor St. Luke’s with doctors in various locations. Together, they provide consultation and specialized knowledge to determine the optimal course of action for stroke patients. Baylor St. Luke’s and St. Luke’s Health–The Woodlands Hospital, which are certified by DNV as Comprehensive Stroke Centers, collaborate with local facilities to swiftly intervene and prevent stroke damage from progressing, as well as reduce or eradicate lasting damage.

  • Project E.C.H.O. (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center provides (BSLMC) coaching to primary care providers across Texas, helping them discover ways to use telecommunication as part of chronic disease management. Primary care physicians at each clinic use videoconferencing to discuss chronic disease diagnoses with the BSLMC Project E.C.H.O. team. Providers then use lessons learned to provide patients with chronic disease treatment and other specialized care they might otherwise have difficulty accessing. 

  • The Emergency Department also uses technology to pre-screen patients with non-life-threatening conditions via the optional online ER check-in tool. When patients check in prior to arrival, ER clinicians can access their information in advance, allowing them to begin care at the first moment of human interaction.

  • The virtual preceptorship program enables seasoned nursing staff to provide training and guidance to new nurses through a virtual environment. This helps ensure our SLH nursing team can deliver the highest quality care at the bedside.

  • Virtual RN techs help speed up the discharge process by allowing several steps to occur prior to human interaction. Virtual RN benefits our patients by helping them prepare to head home faster.

These technology solutions enable SLH health care professionals to diagnose, treat, monitor and discharge patients rapidly and effectively. As technology evolves, clinical professionals  and patients will have access to even more solutions.

Anticipating Future Health Care Needs

SLH medical professionals are deeply integrated into the communities we serve and take pride in delivering exceptional care to our friends, families and neighbors. As part of the St. Luke’s ministry of healing, which comprises more than 20,000 dedicated employees, caregivers, medical staff and doctors, we are proud to be a trusted provider of essential health care services in our communities.

Investing in our technological infrastructure enables us to improve health care delivery. The Woodlands, a multi-million dollar capital improvement project aimed at enhancing our technological capabilities, particularly in the areas of virtual and cloud infrastructure, was completed. State-of-the-art technology will also be available at the new O’Quinn Medical Tower at the McNair Campus, a $426 million investment by CommonSpirit Health, St. Luke’s parent ministry which opens in mid-May. We’re excited to see where this leads and how we can continue to advance the care we provide to the communities we serve.

Stay up to date with future technology advancements at St. Luke’s Health.

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