EMT Kadie Lynch Honored for Contribution Toward Local Telemedicine Program

A local EMT was honored June 4 for her efforts to connect local residents with specialty healthcare in Reno.

Kadie Lynch, an Emergency Medical Technician with HGH EMS Rescue, was awarded a “TELEMED Presenter” plaque by EMS Chief Sean Burke for her contributions toward Humboldt General Hospital’s Telemedicine Program.

Three years ago, HGH began partnering with Renown Health to offer telemedicine services at its 118 E. Haskell Street facility.

Telemedicine uses secure video conferencing technology to enable long-distance medical care between a rural patient, his or her rural provider, and a physician specialist.

Using state-of-the-art technology specifically adapted for telemedicine, the physician specialist conducts a live, interactive discussion via television screens with the patient to obtain a comprehensive medical history and perform a thorough physical exam.

Medical assistants like Lynch undergo extensive training to become the “hands” of the specialist on camera, performing routine vitals work for each patient and carrying out each specialist’s orders.

HGH Administrative Director of Physician Services Pam Wickkiser said the unique setup helps patients to fully engage in their own examination.

If a specialist wants to look at a patient’s throat, the patient can see exactly what the specialist is seeing—on screen, she said. If an ear check is in order, the patient views the ear canal at the same time as the specialist.

“It really is an involved way to host an examination,” said Wickkiser. “Patients tell us they love that part; they also love not having to travel two hours to Reno for a 30-minute appointment.”

Community residents can now access over 80 different specialties—all from the comfort of their hometown medical office. The program is available for diagnosing issues, as well as managing chronic disease, and preventing future disease.

“In terms of improving the delivery of quality and valuable healthcare services in our community, we think this is one of the most important contributions we will make to the wellness of our local residents,” said Wickkiser.

All telemedicine appointments come as referrals through local healthcare providers. “That way, we always ensure there’s good follow-up on the best treatment for a patient,” said Wickkiser.

Lynch’s honor was extended through Renown Medical Center’s TELEMED program. Chief Burke said she not only successfully completed 40 hours of training related to her Telemedicine duties, but she has also presented 25 local patients successfully to specialists in Reno.

“This is a significant accomplishment,” he said. “Each patient has unique needs and circumstances and Kadie has not only learned how to help patients have a good experience locally, but she has worked hard to learn how to provide the information the specialists need.”

Wickkiser added, “She does a great job; we are so lucky to have her.”

Since Humboldt General Hospital’s program went live in 2014, Wickkiser said the hospital has hosted hundreds of telemedicine appointments. She expects that figure to steadily climb as news of the service continues to spread.

“The feedback from our patients and our providers has been excellent,” she said. “We feel very fortunate to offer this service to our residents.”

Patients who are interested in accessing Telemedicine services should visit with their local healthcare provider. More information is also available by calling the Humboldt General Hospital Rural Health Clinic at (775) 623-5222.