ALPENA - Alpena Regional Medical Center was recently awarded a $50,000 grant from the State of Michigan to improve it's specialty care for fetal medicine.
The award will allow for the purchase of equipment used to perform telemedicine, and communicate with Perintologists in real-time to access their knowledge for high risk pregnancies at the hospital.
"Right now, patients have to travel for consultation to Saginaw, Grand Rapids or the University of Michigan," Dr. Richard Bates, Obstetrics and Gynecology specialist said. "With this new equipment, we would be able to do these consultations through telemedicine."
The physicians that will be contacted will be from Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids, and specialize in high risk pregnancies. From the initial consultation, treatment can begin for the patient and the at risk baby based on the specialists recommendations.
This equipment will allow for the transfer of pictures, ultrasound information and other important information to help with the diagnosis and treatment from the various stages of pregnancy to birth.
"The long-term goal is that this would improve on neonatal morbidity and mortality," Bates said. "It improves health care in Northeast Michigan."
Bates said the equipment has the potential to help up to 10 patients every two weeks, and could grow as the service and availability grows.
"It's a really great opportunity for our community to deliver services locally and to have access to specialty care they would have to normally travel for," Bates said. "They won't have to make hard choices about traveling, which can make things very difficult."
The equipment is expected to be operational and beneficial starting around the end of October.
"Hopefully, this will enable those patients to receive the care they need so they will still be able to deliver in our community with the accessibility of this special care," Bates said.
Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.