May 02, 2011 06:00 ET

Franciscan Health System Launches Telemedicine Care Initiative in Partnership With Emerge.MD

Franciscan Health System and Emerge.MD Announce the Use of Consult Accelerator™ to Enable Real Time Clinical Collaboration in Delivering Remote Critical Care Specialty Services

TACOMA, WA--(Marketwire - May 2, 2011) - In March 2011, Franciscan Health System launched its Telemedicine Care consult program to improve the efficiency and quality of care delivery to critical care patients in its emergency departments and intensive care units. The program provides access to specialty resources for physicians and other care providers that empowers them to collaborate in real-time for patients presenting with challenging symptoms.

Leveraging Emerge.MD's Consult Accelerator™ solution, specialists within Franciscan's care network seamlessly provide live consults from web-accessible devices, such as tablets, smart phones and desktop PCs, in a secure, context-aware manner. Franciscan clinicians now have the ability to review difficult clinical cases via voice/video and screen sharing (including radiology and EEG screens). In the initial phase of the project, Franciscan neurologists are examining patients, directing the attending physicians at the bedside, and assisting in the diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care for patients.

The benefits to patient care are already becoming clear. Last month, an ICU patient at a Franciscan hospital in Gig Harbor, Wash, about 10 miles from Tacoma, required the immediate attention and expertise of a neurologist. The hospitalist at the Gig Harbor facility contacted Dr. Seth Stankus, Director of Neurology at the Franciscan Health System, by phone and requested a transfer of the patient who was unstable.

Prior to approving the transfer, Dr. Stankus elected to initiate a remote care session using Consult Accelerator™. This consult included a stabilizing therapy that eliminated the need to transfer the patient from the Gig Harbor hospital to Franciscan's St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma. As a result the patient recovered and was released within days from the Gig Harbor hospital's intensive care unit.

"It was clearly a success," said Dr. Stankus. "And the use of the telemedicine solution completely changed my clinical impression formed during the initial telephone conversation with the Hospitalist."

"Being able to quickly see the [remote] specialist from our local hospital made sure my husband received the best care right away. It was amazing to see the neurologist, who was hosting a dinner at his home, step away and just appear in the ICU room to talk to me and see my husband. I am really grateful to all the doctors and nurses at the Franciscan hospitals who took great care of my husband, even when they weren't at my hospital!" Mrs. Janet Olson, Patient's wife.

A dedicated team of neurologists, hospitalists and nursing care professionals at the Franscian Health System have devised the program to ensure the delivery of the highest quality of patient care across their system. Over the next few months, Franciscan expects to expand the program to other service lines and facilities.

"Franciscan Telemedicine Care helps us deliver the right care at just the right time at all of our community hospitals. It also gives us a way to keep our patients close to their homes and families during their hospital stay while also receiving the best specialized care available," said Trish Niehl, Associate Administrator of the Neurosciences Service Line for the Franciscan Health System.

"We are thrilled to be collaborating with innovative partners such as the Franciscan Health System and the Catholic Health Initiatives system to enable the Telemedicine Care Initiative and offer the industries' first workflow aware telehealth solutions, delivering real time clinical collaboration, improved patient access and care anywhere in the world," said Eric V. Trappen, Emerge.MD CEO.

Emerge.MD will showcase its complete suite of workflow aware telehealth solutions at the American Telemedicine Association annual meeting in Tampa, FL on May 1 - 3, 2011. Demonstration can be seen inside of Emerge.MD's strategic partner Cisco's booth #617.

About Franciscan Health System:
Based in Tacoma, Wash. Franciscan Health System includes five full-service hospitals; a large primary-care and specialty-care medical group; in-home and inpatient hospice and palliative care; same-day surgery centers; occupational health and physical therapy clinics; and centers for advanced medicine that are distinguished by expertise and state-of-the-art technology. For more information, visit

Franciscan is affiliated with Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), a national non-profit health organization with headquarters in Englewood, Colorado. The faith-based system operates in 19 states and includes 73 hospitals; 40 long-term care, assisted- and residential-living facilities; two community health services organizations; and home health agencies.

About Emerge.MD:
Emerge.MD is a 10-year-old privately held company based in Phoenix, Arizona. It offers the industries' first workflow-aware telemedicine and teleconsultation solutions in a software-as-a-service model. Emerge.MD solutions are multi-lingual and can be deployed anywhere in the world. For more information visit:

Contact Information

  • For more information contact:
    Jacquie Goodwill
    Franciscan Health System
    (253) 382-3872 Office
    Email Contact

    Vince Balsamo
    216-236-3743 Office
    Email Contact