Taking an Emotional Temperature


Nothing contributes more to the health of a community than access to quality healthcare providers. Which is why Southwestern Vermont Medical Center’s recent telemedicine initiatives are so exciting and important, especially to those in need of specialty care.

In a small community like ours, the demand for specialized medical services often aren’t high enough to attract full-time specialists. Historically, this has made getting specialty care a big challenge, sometimes requiring one to take time off from work and travel hours to see a qualified provider at a faraway hospital.

Thanks to advancements in telemedicine and SVMC’s relationship with Dartmouth-Hitchcock's Center for Connected Care, many patients in need of specialty care now are able to get that care closer to home.

SVMC offers outpatient telemedicine for pediatric cardiology, pediatric urology, neurology for Muscular Sclerosis, genetic counseling, and gestational diabetes counseling. Additional telemedicine services will be offered in the months and years ahead.

Through the use of video conferencing, wi-fi enabled monitors and other technologies, patients can now schedule office visits at the SVMC Medical Arts Building and connect with practitioners based at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. Physicians are able to see and speak directly to patients via video screens, review real-time vitals, and access lab results and other essential medical reports. Should the consulting doctor need additional information, SVMC nurses and clinical staff team members are on hand to assist with the patient assessment.

Working with all the information they would have obtained in a face-to-face appointment, the physician is able to comprehensively evaluate, diagnose, and/or advise patients on next steps. Follow-up appointments and recommended testing are scheduled immediately and, if needed, prescriptions are provided to the patient or electronically transmitted to the appropriate pharmacy.

Having a medical condition can be challenging in its own right. SVMC's telemedicine program helps to lessen the burden by easing access to specialized providers. It's just one of the ways SVMC is working to provide quality care to every member of our community.

Trey Dobson, MD, is the chief medical officer at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center and the medical director of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Putnam Physicians.