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Tri-State Ambulance implementing new telemedicine technology

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - As the medical world continues to modernize, so do our forms of communication. Gundersen Tri-State Ambulance is implementing a new advancement in technology that could be the difference between life or death.

Dr. Chris Eberlein, an Emergency Medicine Physician at Gundersen Health System, says that they are one of the first in the country to be offering telemedicine technology in an ambulance setting.

"We are always looking to innovate and use technology to improve patient care and using telemedicine in a mobile unit, like an ambulance, is the next evolution of this process," said Eberlein.

This new telemedicine equipment allows physicians a first look at patients in the ambulance using a camera system. It also allows face to face communication before the patient arrives at the hospital said Tri-State Ambulance Operations Manager Kent Stein.

"The physician will be able to control the camera as well so the physician can look all around the ambulance. He can zoom in on the patient if he sees something that looks interesting or stands out," said Stein.

While paramedics are well versed in treatment, calling in a specialist or physician can really be beneficial in extreme or rare cases.

"Physicians, any time you're getting them on the phone you're getting probably a minimum of 8-9 years and thousands of patients of experience," said Stein. "The biggest piece is getting that physician-to-patient connection all the sooner."

This new technology can potentially save crucial minutes through enhanced communication.

"Information really does save lives in medicine and the more information we can share, the better the patient outcomes are going to be," said Eberlein.

The first telemedicine unit was recently installed in one of Tri-State's ambulances, and thanks to grant funding, every single vehicle should be equipped with one by the end of the year.

Warren Sears

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