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from a tablet and perhaps the family is sitting at their own laptop or tablet, all visiting at the same time, seeing the new baby and discussing any issues. The covering obstetri- cian can drop in and answer questions, getting everyone on the same page. Recently I experienced a situation where a patient arrived with seizures, hav- ing had a stroke in the past. There was concern of a new stroke, but it soon became

Andrew Barbash, M.D., is medical director,

neurosciences and virtual care services, Holy Cross Hospital, Silver Spring, Md. For more on Verizon solutions:

clear it was most likely a seizure and that he should recover nicely from the acute event, as long as no new complica- tions arose. His wife was present, but his daughter was 200 miles away. She had two small children and a teenager, so travel was challenging.

Virtual care employs basic text chat and video applications, such as Google Talk, Vidyo and GoToMeeting, powered by super-fast wireless networks, such as Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE. Through such networks, sharing data-rich sonograms, CT scans or MRIs is instantaneous.

We confi rmed her e-mail right from the neurologist’s smartphone, and soon the daughter was able to visit virtu- ally and see how her dad and her mom were doing. After a quick test to verify the Webcam, sound and connection, the click of a hyperlink launched her into the “neuro-icu virtual consult room” and she saw her father gradually awaken from some of the sedating agents, talked to him to let him know she was with him and talked with her mother to review the situation. The patient’s daughter was also able to review large MRI fi les, meet the nurses attending to her dad and get a brief tour of the neuro-ICU so she could be comfortable with the facility and the staff caring for her father. Her confi dence in the care process rose to such a level that she did not need to leave home but could – and did – follow up online each day. Virtual care is not a special event for when one cannot be there in person. It becomes the primary means by which people can rapidly interconnect for shared decision making and collaboration, serving as the foundation of a new care model. The result is an efficient way to consult with anyone, anytime, any- where, and the process actually frees up more time than it requires.


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