Midwest Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM), a St. Louis-based group of high-risk obstetricians, tripled its number of telemedicine consultations during the first half of the year to accommodate a higher number of patients at outlying facilities.
MFM uses ultrasound machines provided by Mercy Hospital St. Louis for its telemedicine consultations. Using telemedicine technology allows physicians to do real-time ultrasound evaluations for patients at another facility, and when appropriate, speak with patients face-to-face to discuss results.
The practice cares for approximately 1,300 patients per year using telemedicine, which is available at its Washington and O'Fallon offices in Missouri, and its Maryville office in Illinois. “Our telemedicine capabilities enable our experts here in St. Louis to support patients at our other offices in real time, near the patients' homes and primary physicians," Gilbert Webb, M.D., medical director of Midwest Maternal-Fetal Medicine, said in a statement. "That saves those patients the cost and time of driving to our main office. And, more importantly, it gives them the peace of mind of getting expert support without waiting long periods of time."
One example of a recent telemedicine success story was when Dr. Webb worked with a couple to determine they were having triplets. The couple was at the Washington office, and Webb reviewed their ultrasound, confirmed that they were having triplets by providing them immediate feedback through telemedicine technology and implemented an appropriate care plan.
"When patients get a regular ultrasound and find out something might be wrong, or there is uncertainty, it can be a stressful time. By getting patients to one of our outlying facilities and using telemedicine to conference with our maternal-fetal medicine experts, we are able to give them more information that same day," said Webb. "Additional tests can be done immediately and patients get guidance from our specialists on what the results mean for them."