Ask The Expert: Q&A With Wendy Layton From HCA

October 17, 2017

Welcome to our “Ask an Expert” blog series, where we’ll highlight lessons learned and best practices from our telehealth experts. This month we’re featuring Wendy Layton, Telehealth Program Director at Central West Texas Division, HCA.

How did you become involved in telemedicine?

Our division’s telemedicine initiative grew organically as we discovered disparities within our own partnership for stroke coverage.

Is telemedicine important for your health system?

Telehealth is important to our health system because it allows us to reach communities in rural Texas. The goal of the telemedicine program is to reach the right people at the right time, delivering access to specialists and helping to keep patients in their communities.

What best practices do you follow to help with getting various stakeholders on-board with telehealth?

The best practice that I follow is to present concepts of telemedicine during section meetings (for example ED Physician Section Meeting, Med Executive Meeting, etc.). This allows for me to come into the stakeholder’s setting and creates a safe environment for everyone.

What kinds of benefits have you seen with your telehealth program?

Since implementing a telehealth program, we have seen a marked improvement on the delivery of care. For stroke care specifically, our door-to-needle averages have dropped substantially and tPA usage rates have increased.

What advice would you offer your peers looking to improve or grow their telehealth program?

You have to start somewhere. The overall plan we had established seemed like a mountain. Taking steps that are always geared around “what is right for the patient” has helped us build our program with quality and outcomes in mind.