An updated telemedicine system in the Guam Memorial Hospital (GMH) is helping patients with new technologies. Telemedicine helps create a bigger connection between patients and doctors. It does this by allowing patients to contact doctors through telecommunication services. Patients can dial in and talk to doctors on the phone or through video calls.
Telemedicine was first used to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was able to create a bridge between patients and specialists. Especially doctors who were not in Guam through the surge of the pandemic.
According to The Guam Daily Post, the new technologies used were a mobile camera and a stethoscope. Doctors, accessing patients through telemedicine, used these to look at any areas of concern. This allowed them to look at a patient’s heart or lungs through an online connection. In the hospital, patients could communicate with doctors through television. This helped specialists to connect with patients. This bridge was then seen as an opportunity for other departments in the hospital. Especially the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and ER departments now have a hybrid staff.
The staff of the NICU unit consists of two OB-GYNs who are present in the hospital and two telemedicine neonatologists. The emergency room also has doctors through telemedicine. Doctors in these areas are open to patients through a need-based call system. According to a 2020 Guam Memorial Hospital assessment by the US Army Corps of Engineers, the hospital has some areas of concern. One of these concerns is that the hospital did not have enough rooms for patients in 2020. It stated that the hospital is “incapable of providing enough space to meet the long-term needs of the patient population.” The use of telemedicine was able to address these concerns. GMH was able to reduce the number of patients that needed to be present in the hospital, further addressing the issue of lack of space. According to a Guam Memorial Hospital Authority press release, telemedicine “is another way [GMH] continues to show its commitment to providing people with the latest improvements in healthcare.”