Because patients want and need healthcare answers fast, Wellmont Health System physicians are utilizing telemedicine to “virtually” practice medicine in two places at once.

Both Lonesome Pine Hospital and Hawkins County Memorial Hospital have acquired telephonic electroencephalography – or EEG ­– technology. The telephonic equipment allows patients to go to their community hospital for tests, which are then read by physicians at Bristol Regional Medical Center and/or Holston Valley Medical Center.

“With the help of this advanced equipment, EEGs can be performed here and transmitted via the Internet to Bristol Regional or Holston Valley,” LPH Interim President Tim Baylor said.

EEGs are widely used to study brain function and to trace connections between the parts of the central nervous system. An EEG may help diagnose the presence and type of seizure disorders, confusion, head injuries, brain tumors, infections, degenerative diseases and metabolic disturbances that affect the brain.

Although both Lonesome Pine and Hawkins County have long had standard neurological equipment, the new telephonic EEG eliminates any scheduling problems that patients or doctors might face.

“Now, patients don’t have to wait for their doctor,” HCMH President Greg Neal said. “They can come in, have their EEG tests run and go home while their physician looks at the results at another hospital.”

The use of telemedicine is one more example of the benefits the partnership between Wellmont hospitals brings to patients, officials said.

“We just started using the new EEG equipment this month, and already it has been a success,” said June Zachary, a respiratory therapist at Hawkins County. “This equipment truly has many advantages for the patient.”


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