Recently, Governor Mike Beebe of the state of Arkansas toured Sparks Health System to view a demonstration of the hospital’s telehealth program. Showcased in the demonstration was Sequoyah Memorial Hospital. Sequoyah Memorial belongs to a consortium of ten regional hospitals titled the AOK Consortium. This collaborative group works together to make advances in the field of telemedicine, particularly telestroke services for stroke intervention and treatment. Sequoyah Memorial was chosen by Sparks to be showcased during Gov. Beebe’s visit. During the demonstration, Sparks dialed up to the Sequoyah Memorial emergency room, via telemedicine, to demonstrate for Gov. Beebe how the equipment and system works during a live stroke evaluation.
Sequoyah Memorial is designated as a Primary Stroke Center by the Oklahoma State Department of Health. “Our telemedicine equipment, which is used for stroke intervention and treatment, was vital to our earning this prestigious distinction,” said Debbie Knoke, Administrator. “We are fortunate to be able to work with Sparks Health System and Dr. Margaret Tremwel to provide lifesaving stroke treatment, right here in our own community, right from our own emergency room.”
Gov. Beebe praised the telehealth program, citing the many potential advantages of this equipment for rural areas and state health outcomes. Telemedicine allows patients access to physicians in urban areas- eliminating the need for a long drive and costly trip. It allows the patient quicker access to lifesaving treatment in emergency situations, evaluation for long-term illnesses and conditions, and education on managing their disease. Thankfully, gone are the days when patients in rural communities have to drive to the nearest big city to consult a medical specialist or get advanced medical advice critical to their health. Telemedicine is one of the fastest-growing technologies of the new millennium. Sequoyah Memorial’s telemedicine equipment will be used not only for stroke intervention and treatment, but also for other specialties and will provide critical medical support and access to specialists in urban areas. “The scope of rural healthcare should not be underestimated,” said Knoke. “According to the Oklahoma Hospital Association, of all the hospitals in the state of Oklahoma, we are among the first to utilize telemedicine for stroke treatment in the emergency department. The telemedicine service would not be possible without the Sequoyah Memorial Hospital Ladies’ Auxiliary group. Their dedication to this cause was instrumental. Their donation was paramount to Sequoyah Memorial securing the needed equipment to implement telemedicine. Also, the support of Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Telemedicine program, through first bringing awareness of the telemedicine opportunities and the capabilities of collaboration with Sparks Health Systems and through their donation of the telemedicine cart, was very significant; their dedication to the health of rural Oklahoma is very evident through their mission, which is to provide specialty physicians and services to rural Oklahomans through Telemedicine. Finally, the Walton Family Foundation was also instrumental, through their support, with obtaining this valuable equipment.”
Pictured above, Debbie Knoke, Administrator, Eric Carter, CNO, and Beth Fair, Director of Radiology, are shown interacting with Dr. Margaret Tremwel, Gov. Beebe, and other Sparks physicians and administration via telemedicine.
For more information on Sequoyah Memorial’s telemedicine program and overall services, visit www.sequoyahmemorial.com or call 918-774-1100.