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Medical Center begins UAB partnership

Vaughan Regional Medical Center and the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) have found ways to improve the management of critical health care.

Both organizations have formed a partnership with the start of a Tele Critical Care Service.  They did a simulation on Monday in the Intensive Care Unit at Vaughan Regional Medical Center.

Vaughan Medical Center CEO David McCormack believes the new approach will help patients in Dallas County.

“It’s going to be fantastic,” McCormack said. “Before this, the patients would have to drive to Birmingham. Now, the UAB doctors will be coming here through the system.

“We’ve also changed our visiting hours. It’s open 24 hours and two visitors are allowed at a time for one patient,” he said.

Vaughan Medical Center is the first hospital in the state to work on the Tele Critical Care system with UAB, according to McCormack.

Here’s how the process works:

A care unit physician or nurse logs into a computer with the patient’s information, creating a case or appointment. Once a patient’s basic information and insurance gets added, it sends notification to a pool of doctors at UAB. One of the doctors will pick up the case or notify when they’re available.

They will link an electronically designed stethoscope to the computer for contact with the UAB staff.

The UAB doctor will ask for the patient’s identification number. After the administrator puts in the information, the Vaughan doctor can join the call.

Cheney Hamilton, Vaughan Medical Center’s ICU Coordinator, believes the process will manage patient care.

“Our main thing is taking care of the critical care patients,” Hamilton said.

Dr. Eric Wallace, a Medical Doctor and Associated Professor at UAB, believes the technique will reduce travel.

“Many times at UAB, its at 99 percent capacity,” Wallace said. “Many times, the critical care in Selma and their families can’t get there because of space. This allows patients to be taken care of in Selma.”