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Whether offering care directly to the consumer or bringing a much-needed specialty to a rural hospital, telemedicine has changed the face of healthcare. It is delivering and becoming a new tool for convenience, access, and affordability. It has given patients the opportunity to stay close to home and get family support. Telemedicine provides health facilities access to various specialists and subspecialist that they could not otherwise recruit.

With the aim to cater to the needs of people from various parts of the nation, Ochsner Health System was founded more than 75 years ago in New Orleans. The organization owns, manages and is affiliated with 40 hospitals and specialty hospitals and has more than 25,000 employees and 4,500 employed and affiliated physicians. The contribution of Ochsner’s expanded team is leading it to be Louisiana’s largest not-for-profit health system which also makes it one of the largest private employers.

It is one of the national leaders in using technology, data and shifting from the traditional approach which helps to deliver better healthcare facilities to the patients. With the vision to develop a healthcare model that delivers world-class, comprehensive care while putting patients first, Ochsner has embraced telehealth with significant investments to establish a dense network.

Unique yet Easy to Use Tools and Programs

Since 2009, Ochsner’s telemedicine program, CareConnect 360, has partnered with 80 facilities across Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Majority of which are rural hospitals that unfortunately face a significant shortage of neurologists, psychiatrists, and other physician specialists. Today, CareConnect 360 has impacted more than 200,000 patients.

Another program by Ochsner, TeleStroke is one of the first telemedicine programs of the company that was launched back in 2009. It provides 24/7 care and can monitor weekly coverage by vascular neurologists who, through telemedicine, are immediately available. They are available in the emergency room for physicians in rural hospitals to help them quickly diagnose and treat patients presenting with symptoms of a possible stroke. A key indicator for stroke outcome is prompt and accurate diagnosis while a delay in treatment can have catastrophic results.

Ochsner’s 24/7, 365 days virtual monitoring of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients remotely monitors 11 units at nine hospitals with over 200 beds. While its TelePsychiatry program also operates 24/7 and provides patients access to a psychiatry provider within minutes. Lastly, its unique program, telesitter is designed to monitor the patients most at risk for falling during an inpatient stay. With this monitoring in place, falls have been reduced by more than 90% and have also reduced the need and cost associated with on-site sitters.

As to improve Ochsner’s patient-centered culture, the organization offers online appointments and messaging via MyOchsner patient portal and same-day access with locations close to home according to their convenience. In August 2018, Ochsner launched its consumer-facing virtual care platform, Ochsner Anywhere Care, powered by national telehealth leader American Well®, gives patients across the nation, access to 24/7 virtual urgent care providers.

Exemplary Personalities Catering Telemedicine Industry

Ochsner is led by President and CEO, Warner Thomas, a born leader with a strategic vision. He exemplifies courage in the time of change to ensure that the organization positively embraces disruption and continues to move in the right direction that is best for its patients.

Under his supervision, Ochsner’s telemedicine program, CareConnect 360 which is its prominent program, has been able to partner with 80 facilities across Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Majority of which are rural hospitals that unfortunately face a significant shortage of neurologists, psychiatrists and other physician specialists.

Dr. David Houghton, System Chair for Telemedicine, has been instrumental in the expansion of CareConnect 360. He joined Ochsner in 2012, and has served as Ochsner’s Chief of the Division of Movement & Memory Disorders and Vice Chair of the Department of Neurology before becoming the Medical Director of CareConnect 360 within the Telehealth department in 2016.

Applaudable Accolades

All these years, Ochsner has been able to deliver top-most facilities to its clients. Apart from accolades, it has translated into many awards being conferred on the company. Few awards comprise of American Well’s 2019 Disruptive Technology Award, only Louisiana hospital recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a 2018-19 “Best Hospital” across two specialty categories. It has been ranked no. 1 in Louisiana for 2018-19 by U.S. News & World Report for eight years in a row.

Ochsner was awarded by Microsoft Corporation for Health Innovation Awards in 2018. In the same year, the company was a Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Davies Award recipient. It was also ranked at number 11 in 2018 for Top-Rated Workplaces: Best Hospitals by Indeed. It was also included in the National Research Corporation (NRC) Health 2017-2018 Top 100 Consumer Loyalty list along with 2018 Top Hospital for Diversity by BlackDoctor.org.

Ochsner was one of the recipients of the prestigious Forbes Best Employers for New Grads list 2018 and the Innovator Award from the Association of Community Cancer Centers. It was also awarded the Anti-Defamation League 2018 A.I. Botnick Torch of Liberty Award for visionary leadership and social impact. It was also one of the recipients of Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award honoring the Top CEOs in 2018.

Ochsner was also one of the Top 50 children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News and World Report for two pediatric specialties — gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery and cardiology and heart surgery. In 2018, the company stood as one of the IBM Watson 15 Major Teaching Hospitals for Ochsner Medical Center, New Orleans, LA and 20 Medium Community Hospitals for Ochsner Medical Center, Baton Rouge, LA.

Mission Statement: At Ochsner, we’re committed to continuing to be much more connected to patients and listening to the voice of the customer which helps drive our efforts, and telemedicine is part of this journey