Sustaining Circle Members

Telemedicine Case Studies

Avera eCARE Supports 675 Rural Clinicians in the Delivery of Highest-Quality Care

Avera eCARE supports 675 rural clinicians in the delivery of highest-quality care, resulting in earlier interventions, improved use of evidence-based medicine, reduced unnecessary transfers, fewer complications and lives saved. 

eEmergency provides rural clinicians immediate access to board-certified emergency-medicine physicians and experienced emergency nurses to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of stroke, heart attack, trauma and other critical conditions. Since its inception in 2009, eEmergency has served more than 15,000 patients at 70 locations through two-way video interaction or transfer assistance. More than 850 eEmergency encounters (18 percent) have resulted in an estimated $6.8 million in costs saved through avoided transfers. In a recent survey, 100 percent of rural clinicians and administrators agreed that eEmergency services are an important part of the delivery of emergency care in rural communities and have demonstrated significant impact on the quality of clinical services provided in rural hospitals.

For patients presenting to the emergency department with chest pain, collaboration with eEmergency has demonstrated the following improvements in quality measures:
  • An overall median time to ECG of six minutes; a decrease of as much as 50 percent
  • A 100-percent compliance with American Heart Association aspirin administration guidelines; an improvement of more than 44 percent
  • 100 percent of eligible patients receiving fibrinolytic (clot-busting) medication
  • A decrease in median time to transfer by as much as 60 minutes
Avera eICU CARE provides around-the-clock monitoring of critically ill patients by an intensivist-led team of experienced critical care nurses. Using Avera eICU CARE’s advanced monitoring software and integrated electronic medical record systems to identify negative trends in patient status has resulted in reductions in length of stay and cost of care for more than 42,500 patients. Additionally, Avera eICU CARE support has saved more than 850 patients lives according to APACHE predicted versus observed mortality. Avera eICU CARE provides intensivist oversight to more than 60 percent of the critical care patients in the region, compared to only 13 percent nationally. This oversight has led to:
  • A total of 28,500 ICU days saved, an estimated cost savings of more than $44 million
  • A 100-percent compliance with stress ulcer prophylaxis
  • A 100-percent compliance with venous thromboembolism prophylaxis
ePharmacy has improved medication safety for more than 73,700 patients in 40 hospitals across the region. Hospital-trained pharmacists have reviewed more than 880,000 medication orders and identified and prevented more than 11,450 serious safety events, including drug-drug interactions, allergic reactions and duplicative therapies. Each month, pharmacists review more than 35,000 orders and complete more than 750 interventions to promote medication safety and cost-effectiveness in rural communities. 

eConsult connects rural patients in clinics and hospitals to specialists in urban communities. Currently, eConsult links 65 rural sites with 27 different specialties, facilitating more than 5,700 clinic visits per year. In fiscal year 2012, eConsult saved patients more than 1.3 million miles of travel. This equates to saving $304,000 in travel expenses and more than 15,300 hours in travel time. More than one-third of patients reported that they would not have received specialist care without eConsult, and more than two-thirds of patients reported that they received equal or better care through eConsult than in person.

  • 2013

For more information about this case study, please contact:
Jay Weems, Executive Director, Avera eCARE; 605-322-4669;