3 ways to re think telemetry for your hospital

Optimizing cardiac telemetry services is paramount for hospitals aiming to provide efficient and comprehensive heart care solutions. From alleviating nursing burden to integrating tele-cardiology resources and enhancing operational efficiency, here are three strategic ways hospitals can optimize their use of cardiac telemetry.

#1 Alleviating Nursing Burden through Outsourcing:

One of the key challenges hospitals face in cardiac telemetry is the strain it puts on nursing resources. Monitoring cardiac telemetry requires constant attention, and the demand for skilled nursing staff can be overwhelming. To address this challenge, hospitals can consider outsourcing telemetry monitoring services.

Outsourcing telemetry monitoring allows hospitals to tap into specialized expertise without overburdening their in-house nursing staff. External telemetry experts can provide continuous monitoring, timely response to alerts, and data analysis, freeing up internal nursing resources to focus on direct patient care. This not only alleviates the burden on nurses but also ensures that patients receive the highest level of attention and care.

#2 Connecting Telemetry to Tele-Cardiology Resources:

The integration of cardiac telemetry with tele-cardiology resources is a game-changer for hospitals seeking a comprehensive approach to heart care. Tele-cardiology enables remote consultation and collaboration among cardiac specialists, regardless of geographical constraints. By connecting telemetry data to tele-cardiology platforms, hospitals can enhance their diagnostic capabilities and provide more immediate, specialized care to patients supporting patient flow.

Real-time communication between telemetry monitoring teams and remote cardiologists ensures swift decision-making in critical situations. This interconnected approach fosters a seamless continuum of care, allowing healthcare providers to address potential cardiac issues proactively. It not only improves patient outcomes but also strengthens the hospital's position as a center for advanced and comprehensive heart care.

#3 Operational Efficiency through Streamlining Staffing Costs and Real Estate Investments for a Cardiac Monitoring Unit (CMU):

Creating a dedicated Cardiac Monitoring Unit (CMU) requires real estate, resources, management and a stable forecast of telemetry demand. Hospitals operating CMU’s are operating small businesses in virtual care which often have costs associated with implementation and maintenance that go unrealized.

  • Property/real estate: hospital real estate is usually cost-prohibitive and also presents an opportunity cost for extended patient care when converted to staffing a CMU. Outsourcing can free-up such locations
  • Telemetry demand: telemetry overuse can contribute to higher per bed costs, and potentially patient injury if unnecessary. Dynamic virtual capacity for staffing of telemetry can support fluctuations in monitoring costs
  • Staffing: staffing costs can be optimized and bedside care can be re-prioritized as virtual teams collaborate through an outsourced model

Re-Think Telemetry

Cardiac telemetry in hospitals requires a multifaceted approach that addresses nursing burden, integrates tele-cardiology resources, and enhances operational efficiency through outsourcing. By embracing these strategies, hospitals can not only provide superior cardiac care but also position themselves at the forefront of healthcare innovation. The result is a win-win scenario – improved patient outcomes and a more efficient, future-ready healthcare system.

Explore how your hospital can lead the way in cardiac care innovation by adopting these telemetry optimization strategies today… learn more and connect with us here.

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integrating telehealth strengthening rural health care delivery

 

Integrating telehealth,integrated telehealth partners,integrated telehealth solutions,integrated telehealth services,Strengthening rural health care delivery,rural health care facilities,rural health care facility challenges,Integrating telehealth: Strengthening rural health care delivery

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Dr. Corey Scurlock MD, MBA is the CEO & founder of Equum Medical.

The health care landscape is undergoing a transformation, particularly in how medical services are delivered in rural communities. Amidst rapid technological advancements, telehealth has surfaced as a revolutionary tool, essential for bridging the disparities in health care access. This shift towards virtual care delivery models is not just a convenience – it is a necessity for the sustainability of rural health systems.

Telehealth: A lifeline for rural communities

Rural residents have always faced significant challenges in accessing quality health care. Distance from larger medical centers coupled with a shortage of local health care professionals has historically placed these communities at a disadvantage. Telehealth is changing this narrative by providing immediate access to medical expertise, allowing for timely and often life-saving interventions.

With telehealth platforms, patients can receive consultations, diagnoses, and treatment plans without the need for physical travel. This is especially critical for acute medical conditions where every second counts. By connecting patients with specialists via telemedicine, we are effectively eliminating the barriers imposed by distance, ensuring high-quality care is a right and not a privilege for every individual, regardless of their geographical location.

Diminishing health care inequalities

The gap in health care quality and accessibility between urban and rural populations has long been a topic of concern. Rural residents are more likely to suffer from chronic conditions, have limited access to preventive care, and face higher health care expenses. Telehealth offers a means to mitigate these issues by facilitating early diagnosis and care management, thus preventing the escalation of manageable health conditions into critical emergencies.

For rural hospitals, telehealth is more than just a technological addition – it is a strategic asset. It enables these institutions to extend their service offerings and to provide a level of care previously unavailable in their regions. This not only improves patient health outcomes but also aids in alleviating the workforce shortages. Technology empowers overextended medical staff, allowing them to do more with less and focus their efforts where they are needed most.

Sustaining rural health care facilities

Sustaining rural health care facilities

The economic impact of a local hospital closure goes beyond health care. It can be devastating to the rural economy, leading to job losses and a decrease in the community's overall well-being. Telehealth services help prevent such outcomes by expanding the capabilities of these facilities to treat acute and chronic conditions. This integration aids in keeping health care local, maintaining the vitality of these essential institutions and the communities they serve.

Equum Medical's partnership with the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) exemplifies our dedication to this cause. Our collaborative efforts have been aimed at leveraging telehealth to not only preserve but enhance the functionality and scope of rural hospitals, enabling them to adapt to the changing health care landscape while continuing to serve as the backbone of their communities.

Creating healthier rural ecosystems

The value of telehealth transcends the direct provision of medical services by fostering the development of a health care ecosystem that supports sustainable, community-wide wellness. Telehealth initiatives can support local public health efforts, deliver educational resources, and promote wellness and preventive care. Such programs empower residents to manage their health proactively, which can lead to reduced hospital admissions and a healthier population overall.

Moreover, telehealth facilitates the creation of integrated health care networks by connecting rural providers with regional and national systems. This allows for the sharing of best practices, expansion of services, and a collaborative approach to complex health issues. In these networks, rural health providers are not isolated but are part of a larger, supportive community of health care professionals.

rural health care facilities

The way forward with telehealth

The integration of telehealth into rural health care is a forward-thinking solution that addresses immediate needs while laying the groundwork for future advancements. It is an acknowledgment that quality health care should be universally accessible and that rural communities deserve the same standard of care as their urban counterparts.

As we look to the future, the continued support and expansion of telehealth services are crucial. We must build on the momentum generated in recent years to ensure that our health care system evolves to meet the needs of every citizen. The role of technology in this cannot be understated – it is the key to unlocking the potential of rural health care and providing a foundation for innovative, accessible, and sustainable care delivery.

Telehealth is more than a temporary fix; it is a permanent and integral part of the health care fabric. The time is now to embrace this technology fully and invest in the health of our rural communities. By committing to the widespread adoption of telehealth, we affirm our dedication to a future where equitable health care is not just an aspiration but a reality for every community across the nation.

Unlocking Healthcare Excellence: Enhancing Patient Care through Outsourced Cardiac Telemetry Services

"Do what you do best and outsource the rest." - Peter Drucker

Chief Nursing Officer Ashley VonNida, DNP, MBA, MSN

In the era characterized by economic challenges, soaring healthcare costs, and intensified competition, hospitals are actively seeking innovative strategies to simultaneously sustain profitability and elevate the quality of patient care. A pioneering approach that has garnered attention is the outsourcing of cardiac monitoring services. Particularly within the domain of cardiac event monitoring, this strategic move presents hospitals with an array of advantages that not only augment patient care but also optimize operational efficacy.

Outsourcing cardiac telemetry represents a transformative stride toward modernizing healthcare services. Through remote patient monitoring, hospitals can attain unprecedented levels of efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and patient satisfaction. The fusion of cutting-edge technology and specialized proficiency offers a glimpse into the future landscape of healthcare excellence. While broadly utilized, telemetry is predominantly implemented within a hospital as part of cardiac services; in a 2016 study (Cantillon 2016), researchers showcased the potential of outsourcing cardiac telemetry services to a centralized off-site monitoring center. The outcomes were remarkable: a reduction in hospital readmissions and emergency room visits, all without an escalation in adverse events. This approach addresses the challenge of alarm fatigue while optimizing the precision of event notifications within a clinical workforce constrained model.

This strategic pivot aligns with the wisdom of renowned consultant Peter Drucker: "Do what you do best and outsource the rest." Just as hospitals have adeptly outsourced support services, the outsourcing of specialized functions like cardiac telemetry proves to be comparably effective. Given the ongoing demand for remote patient monitoring and the persisting impacts of the pandemic, the future of healthcare lies in embracing these transformative outsourcing solutions. By collaborating with industry experts such as Equum Medical, hospitals can optimize patient care, streamline operations, and secure a more resilient, prosperous future.

Understanding Cardiac Monitoring: A Paradigm Shift in Healthcare

Cardiac monitoring represents a revolutionary advancement, facilitating the seamless transmission of critical patient data from implantable rhythm management devices directly to medical professionals. This breakthrough enables healthcare practitioners to remotely assess heart activity, obviating the necessity for patients to be physically present for evaluations. Cardiac telemetry, as a resource-intensive process, demands a comprehensive infrastructure and a specialized workforce to effectively monitor and analyze patients' heart activities. The continuous and real-time nature of cardiac monitoring requires sophisticated equipment, including implantable rhythm management devices, monitoring devices, and robust data transmission systems. These technologies must be maintained, upgraded, and monitored around the clock to ensure seamless data flow and accurate readings. Moreover, the process involves highly trained medical professionals, such as radiologists and cardiologists, who possess the expertise to interpret complex cardiac data accurately. The need for 24/7 availability, rapid response to emergencies, and ongoing quality assurance further escalates the resource requirements. Consequently, hospitals and healthcare institutions opting for cardiac telemetry must allocate significant financial, technological, and human resources to ensure consistent and reliable patient care while adhering to the stringent demands of this resource-intensive practice.

The Merits of Outsourcing Cardiac Monitoring Services

  • 24/7 Availability: By outsourcing cardiac monitoring, healthcare institutions attain round-the-clock support, alleviating the burden on in-house radiologists and mitigating the potential for errors. Continuous assistance empowers radiologists to operate more efficiently during nighttime hours, and even weekends and holidays can now be met with rapid responsiveness.
  • Enhanced Reporting Protocols: Specialized medical practices often encounter challenges in securing radiologists with the requisite expertise. Outsourcing introduces hospitals to super-specialist radiologists who furnish valuable insights for enhancing reporting formats. With their guidance, healthcare facilities can embrace standardized, widely accepted reporting templates, fortifying their credibility and communication.
  • Swift Resolution of Critical Cases: For hospitals confronted with emergencies and urgent scenarios, outsourcing ensures the expeditious handling of priority cases, especially during nighttime hours. This continuous availability not only accelerates case resolution but also facilitates remote consultations with specialists, negating the need for physical visits.
  • Optimal Cost-Efficiency: Outsourcing cardiac monitoring services yields substantial cost benefits. Hospitals can harness enhanced medical capabilities without enlarging their workforce, leading to reduced labor costs and diminished annual maintenance expenses. The swift access to top-tier reports and consultations not only trims overhead expenses but also enhances patient outcomes.

Elevating Patient Experience and Financial Viability

The outsourcing of cardiac monitoring emerges as a gateway to a spectrum of advantages that extend beyond the confines of hospital operations:

  • Heightened Profitability: Outsourcing translates to local resource expense reductions ranging from 30% to 60%, bolstering hospitals' profit margins. The availability of cost-effective labor and infrastructure through outsourcing plays a pivotal role in driving these noteworthy savings.
  • Enhanced Patient Care: By entrusting non-core responsibilities to outsourcing vendors, healthcare institutions can prioritize patient care, leading to enriched patient experiences and a fortified organizational reputation.
  • Expanded Service Portfolio: Outsourcing empowers hospitals to diversify their service offerings across multiple locations, both domestically and internationally, fostering competitiveness and extending their sphere of influence.

Pioneering the Future of Healthcare

The strategic shift towards outsourcing cardiac telemetry services marks a pivotal step in modernizing healthcare offerings. In the current landscape of economic challenges and escalating healthcare costs, hospitals are presented with a unique opportunity to optimize both patient care and operational efficiency through this approach. The advantages of outsourcing cardiac telemetry services are profound and encompass a multitude of dimensions, including financial savings and operational optimization.

By leveraging the expertise of specialized off-site monitoring centers, hospitals can harness the benefits of round-the-clock availability, enhanced reporting protocols, swift resolution of critical cases, and optimal cost-efficiency. These factors collectively contribute to a substantial boost in profitability, a critical factor in today's competitive healthcare environment. Through outsourcing, hospitals can achieve local resource expense reductions ranging from 30% to 60%, significantly enhancing their profit margins.

Moreover, the patient experience is elevated to new heights, as healthcare institutions can direct their focus on core patient care responsibilities while entrusting specialized functions to outsourcing partners. This emphasis on patient-centric care enhances patient experiences and reinforces the hospital's reputation.

In the evolving landscape of healthcare, outsourcing cardiac telemetry services serves as a strategic alignment to benefit from innovation and efficiency. By collaborating with industry experts like Equum Medical, hospitals can effectively streamline operations, optimize patient care, and ensure a prosperous and resilient future. As healthcare professionals, embracing these transformative outsourcing solutions is not just a strategic decision, but a pivotal step towards shaping the future of healthcare excellence.

References:

Cantillon DJ, Loy M, Burkle A, et al. Association Between Off-site Central Monitoring Using Standardized Cardiac Telemetry and Clinical Outcomes Among Non–Critically Ill Patients. JAMA. 2016;316(5):519–524. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.10258

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Equum Medical and National Rural Health Association partner on IT, telehealth to help sustain the healthcare safety net

Equum Medical is a Gold Member and Exclusive HIT Coalition Partner of the National Rural Health Association (NRHA)

NEW YORKJuly 13, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) has designated Equum Medical as its exclusive Health Information Technology Coalition Partner. The HIT Coalition, with the support and expertise of Equum Medical will work on initiatives to revolutionize care for rural Americans through more widespread and effective use of electronic records and telehealth services.

In 2009 a "Rural Health Information Technology (HIT) Coalition" was convened under the aegis of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the National Rural Health Resource Center (NRHRC). The HIT coalition operates with the help of NRHRC and Health Tech Strategies, Inc. and is composed of a cross-section of diverse advocates and stake-holders – including representatives of hospitals, clinics, providers, technology organizations, and government.  The Coalition identifies emerging technologies (as well as current policy issues) of critical importance to rural healthcare offering insights of particular interest to rural health care delivery through technology.

"We are excited to expand our relationship with Equum, which has so much experience with the challenges faced in rural healthcare," said Larry Bedell, NRHA's Services Corporation Executive Director. "For many of our members, decisions are being made on expensive digital tools and telehealth services that should  improve productivity and, most importantly, help reduce the impact of workforce shortages, but these organizations need help in sifting through the available options. We have seen that Equum has the depth and breadth of rural health expertise to aid in providing that assistance."

Alone among vendors, Equum offers comprehensive virtual care services with specialists in acute care, virtual nursing, remote monitoring technicians for vital signs and virtual safety sitters, who watch patients at risk of falling or other harms.

"The decision to accept the partnership was driven by our deep belief in the power of collaboration, innovation and inclusivity to transform healthcare delivery for rural communities across the nation," said Corey Scurlock, MD, MBA, founder and CEO of Equum Medical.  With NHRA at the helm, this coalition will do great things to benefit rural healthcare. "NRHA's reputation as a high-integrity, dedicated organization is unmatched; they have consistently demonstrated their commitment to advancing rural healthcare through their tireless advocacy, research and educational initiatives."

Scurlock noted that rural healthcare runs deep in his and his company's DNA. "I grew up in a small Texas town, and I have firsthand knowledge of the full impact of the closure of the only hospital in a community – a loss of access, jobs and people," he said. "Equum has made preserving rural healthcare our top priority."

About Equum
Equum Medical is a nationally recognized, tech-enabled clinical services company that provides the people and processes that ensure investments in telehealth technology succeed in transforming inpatient care. Equum's clinical services platform focuses on the acute care population spanning ED, ICU, nursing and sitter solutions. Learn more here at equummedical.com.

About NRHA
The National Rural Health Association is a national nonprofit organization that brings together thousands of members across the United States to provide leadership on rural health issues through advocacy, communications, education and research. For more go to ruralhealth.us.

Contact
Karsten Russell-Wood
Chief Marketing Officer, Equum Medical
karsten.russell-wood@equummedical.com

revolutionizing patient care with equum medicals virtual nursing services

The healthcare landscape is continually evolving, with advancements in technology playing a pivotal role in the transformation of patient care. One such innovation that's gaining traction is Virtual Nursing, a service offered by Equum Medical. This cutting-edge solution enhances the quality of care, addresses staffing challenges, and optimizes the healthcare experience for both patients and providers. In this blog post, we'll delve into the world of Virtual Nursing, explore its benefits, and discuss how Equum Medical is revolutionizing patient care through its service lines.

What is Virtual Nursing?

The Concept

Virtual Nursing refers to the use of telehealth technologies to remotely provide nursing care and support to patients in various healthcare settings. It allows nurses to monitor patients, provide education, and collaborate with other healthcare professionals from a distance, leveraging the power of modern communication tools and digital platforms.

Equum Medical's Approach

Equum Medical's Virtual Nursing services combine advanced telehealth technologies with a team of highly skilled, experienced nurses. This innovative approach enables healthcare providers to extend their reach, improve patient outcomes, and optimize resource utilization, all while maintaining a strong focus on patient-centered care.

Benefits of Virtual Nursing

Enhanced Patient Care

Virtual Nursing offers numerous advantages to patients, including:

  • Access to specialized nursing care and support, even in remote or underserved areas
  • Timely intervention and monitoring, leading to better health outcomes through optimized admissions and discharges
  • Improved patient education and self-management, promoting a proactive approach to healthcare
  • Greater continuity of care, fostering stronger relationships between patients and providers

Addressing Staffing Challenges

Healthcare providers often face staffing shortages, which can impact the quality and timeliness of patient care. Virtual Nursing addresses these challenges by:

  • Extending the reach of nursing staff, allowing them to care for more patients without compromising quality
  • Providing backup support during periods of high demand, alleviating the pressure on in-person staff
  • Offering a flexible workforce solution, enabling healthcare providers to scale up or down as needed

Cost and Resource Optimization

Virtual Nursing can help healthcare providers optimize their resources and reduce costs by:

  • Reducing the need for patient transfers to specialized facilities, saving time and money
  • Streamlining workflows and increasing efficiency, leading to better resource utilization
  • Minimizing the risk of hospital readmissions and associated costs through proactive monitoring and intervention
  • Address transitions in care and patient flow bottlenecks

Role of Virtual Nursing in Addressing Healthcare Disparities

Bridging the Gap

Healthcare disparities are a persistent issue affecting many communities, particularly those in rural or underserved areas. Virtual Nursing has the potential to bridge the gap, ensuring that all patients have access to quality care, regardless of their location. By providing remote nursing support, Equum Medical helps to:

  • Expand access to specialized nursing care in areas with limited resources
  • Reduce barriers to care, such as distance and transportation challenges
  • Promote health equity by offering consistent, high-quality care to all patients

Collaborative Care for Underserved Populations

Equum Medical's Virtual Nursing services enable healthcare providers to work collaboratively with other professionals, facilitating access to the right care at the right time. This team-based approach is particularly beneficial for underserved populations, as it:

  • Fosters a seamless care experience, ensuring that patients receive timely support and intervention
  • Enables healthcare providers to share knowledge, expertise, and resources, improving the overall quality of care
  • Empowers patients to take an active role in their healthcare journey, fostering a sense of ownership and engagement

Virtual Nursing: A Sustainable Solution for the Healthcare Industry

Scalability and Flexibility

As the demand for healthcare services continues to grow, Virtual Nursing offers a scalable and flexible solution that can adapt to changing needs. Equum Medical's Virtual Nursing services provide healthcare providers with the tools and resources they need to:

  • Expand their capacity to care for more patients without compromising quality
  • Respond to fluctuations in demand, ensuring that they have the right resources in place at the right time
  • Adapt to evolving healthcare trends and challenges, staying ahead of the curve in an ever-changing industry

Environmental Sustainability

Virtual Nursing also contributes to environmental sustainability by reducing the need for transportation and the associated carbon emissions. By enabling remote care, Equum Medical's Virtual Nursing services help to:

  • Minimize the environmental impact of patient transfers and consultations
  • Promote a greener, more sustainable healthcare model
  • Support healthcare providers in their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint and embrace sustainable practices

Equum Medical's Virtual Nursing services are transforming the healthcare landscape, offering a forward-thinking solution that addresses the challenges of today and tomorrow. By leveraging cutting-edge telehealth technologies and a team of skilled nurses, we're breaking down barriers to care, promoting health equity, and fostering a more sustainable, patient-centered healthcare experience. Join us in embracing the future of healthcare and discover the difference that Virtual Nursing can make in your organization.

Equum Medical's Virtual Nursing Service Lines

Equum Medical offers a range of Virtual Nursing services designed to meet the diverse needs of healthcare providers and patients. Equum provides hospitals with highly experienced nurses who understand telehealth, emergent care, admissions and discharge protocols. Equum's RN's serve as a value added resource, helping the bedside team with tailored tasks to help facilitate improved admission and discharge processes as well as providing mentorship when needed. The flexible Virtual Nurse Program from Equum supports three critical areas:

  1. Admissions

    1. Collaborate with transfer center to move patients from outside hospitals to the floor/ICU i.e.., follow up on room readiness
    2. Work with the ER to reduce wait times for admissions and help drive down left without being seen (LWBS) rates
    3. Review orders and make necessary phone calls to facilitate care, i.e., radiology, pharmacy, or blood bank
    4. Act as double-check for admission checklist especially during periods of high census or overload
  2. Hospital Stay

    1. Act as second signature for medications and blood administration
    2. Facilitate phone calls on behalf of the managing nurse to family, providers, or ancillary departments
    3. Guide new nursing staff just completing orientation
    4. Support per diem and travel nursing staff regarding health system standards, policy, and procedure
    5. Identify and communicate potential discharge patients based on unit / health system standards
    6. Perform 24-hour nursing chart checks – all orders completed / addressed
  3. Discharge

    1. Ensure readiness of patients identified for discharge per health system standards
    2. Obtain and/or review discharge orders
    3. Perform discharge teaching – medications, signs/symptoms of when to call the physician, wound care
    4. Observe teach-back of discharge instructions
    5. Follow up on pharmacy fill of discharge medications
    6. Perform medication reconciliation
    7. Make the appropriate discharge appointments e.g.: primary care provider, PT/OT, etc.
    8. Provide the nursing report to long-term care or rehabilitation center

Embracing the Future of Healthcare with Equum Medical

Equum Medical's Virtual Nursing services represent the future of healthcare, offering an innovative solution to the challenges faced by healthcare providers and patients alike. By embracing this cutting-edge approach, we can enhance the quality of care, optimize resources, and create a more efficient, patient-centered healthcare experience.

From Bedside to Webside, Connected Nursing

Virtual Nursing is transforming the way we deliver patient care, and Equum Medical is at the forefront of this revolution. By leveraging advanced telehealth technologies and a team of skilled nurses, we're helping healthcare providers overcome challenges, improve patient outcomes, and create a better healthcare experience for all. Embrace the power of Virtual Nursing with Equum Medical and be a part of the change that's shaping the future of healthcare.

a doctor who has lived the2

 

Equum Medical’s Alin Gragossian, DO, brings a unique understanding to treating seriously ill patients. She spent more than a decade honing her skills in emergency and critical care medicine. Unlike her peers she also spent a lot of time in the ICU as a patient. She had a heart transplant, and as a result of the drugs she was administered she needed both hips replaced. All before turning 33.

In late December 2018 Gragossian thought she was wrapping up a residency in emergency medicine at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia. She hadn’t been feeling well for a couple of weeks and had a bad cough. Then she started experiencing shortness of breath. A friend who hadn't seen her for a while told her she looked ill. Thinking she had some kind of flu, she decided to go to the ER where she had worked a shift the previous day, this time to get medical attention for herself. She was exhausted. “I just wanted antibiotics and sleep,” she said. One of the attending physicians in the ER told her there were signs of something serious going on and she was going to stay until it could be diagnosed.

That night, Alin went into heart failure. She doesn’t remember much after the rapid response team arrived at her bedside. She awoke intubated and on a ventilator. And then she was put into a medically induced coma in an effort to stabilize her to buy time while doctors raced to figure out what was causing her symptoms. She was taken to the catheterization lab, her heart getting worse by the minute. She was put on medications just to keep her heart pumping.

layer 3Alin was ultimately diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart chambers enlarge to the point of preventing normal blood flow. If it goes on long enough, it can lead to heart failure, as it did in her case. She was finally told that her heart muscles were so damaged that only a transplant could save her. She was transferred to the University of Pennsylvania system where on Jan. 15, 2019, 11 days after being placed on the heart transplant waiting list, she was, as she wrote in her Instagram blog, “reborn with a new heart, all thanks to a selfless organ donor.”

After a few months spent recuperating in her native Los Angeles, Alin returned to Philadelphia to complete her residency, and then landed a fellowship in critical care medicine at Mount Sinai Health System in New York. “I had the opportunity to take care of transplant patients.,” she says. “It has been especially rewarding to connect with patients and families on such a deep level in the different ICUs, especially since I have been through some of what some of my patients are going through.”

layer 1

Amazingly, two more surgeries awaited her in New York. She was diagnosed with avascular necrosis, first in her left hip joint and then, months later, in her right, both a result of the steroids that she had taken for the heart transplant. “I had been in so much pain for months and had no idea where it was coming from,” she says. “I thought I was going crazy. It isn’t every day that a 32-year-old with a heart transplant needs new hips in the middle of a worldwide pandemic.”

Even though her immune system was compromised by the anti-rejection drugs she had to take, she was able to use protective equipment to complete her residency and fellowship.

She could do in-person care but relishes the opportunity to work with patients and providers at many types of hospitals. “Being immunocompromised, telehealth allows me to continue to work with patients and collaborate with colleagues while at a distance which I consider a better option for my health and situation. Telehealth supports my choice,” she says of her move to telehealth at Equum.

Her experiences have changed her outlook on work and life. She has worked with the American Heart Association and Donate Life America and serves as a member of the Transplant Community Advisory Council of the American Society of Transplantation, focusing on heart failure awareness and the importance of registered organ donation.

Her lived experience has taught her the importance of establishing a human connection between physicians and their patients. ‘’No matter who you are or what you know, being a patient is not easy,” she says. “I was always so appreciative of doctors and nurses who did the little things that made my patient experience so much better, every single day.”

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