Premier Health, University of Dayton Partner to Enhance Telehealth Capabilities

DAYTON, Ohio (February 18, 2020) – Premier Health and the University of Dayton’s School of Engineering have partnered to enhance the capabilities of Premier Health’s telehealth program and provide electrical and computer engineering undergraduate students a new way to apply their knowledge. The collaboration has produced a clinical-based, biomedical engineering research technical elective.  

As part of the new offering, Premier Health supplies a telehealth mobile cart for students to work on in the classroom and has replicated its telehealth technology at the Biomedical Engineering and Healthcare Electronics Lab on campus.

Students participating in the course over the past six months have researched telemetry solutions to improve upon the video-conferencing interface that physicians currently use to see and hear patients from a remote location. The students researched and tested patient diagnostic peripheral devices, such as electronic stethoscopes and otoscopes (instruments used to examine the ear) and integrated these devices into an updated virtual patient care software platform. They also evaluated alternative lighting solutions and optical filters to enhance images that physicians view remotely. Finally, they designed custom 3D-printed fixtures for peripherals to attach to the existing telehealth mobile cart.

Students, Riley Zelczak and Henry Doheny, recently presented their findings and demonstrated their recommendations to a group of Premier Health professionals, including physicians, who tested the technology and provided feedback on potential features such as electrocardiography that can be incorporated into future designs.

Premier Health uses telehealth technology to bring medical expertise to patients more quickly and conveniently to a network of sites throughout the region, including Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton; Miami Valley Hospital South in Centerville; Miami Valley Hospital North in Englewood; Jamestown Emergency Center in Jamestown; Austin Boulevard Emergency Center in Miamisburg; Atrium Medical Center in Middletown; Upper Valley Medical Center in Troy; Wayne HealthCare in Greenville; Wilson Memorial Hospital in Sidney; and Joint Township District Memorial Hospital in St. Marys.

The telehealth program includes services such as video consultation with a doctor. As a result, someone who is ill does not have to leave home to be treated, or can receive immediate evaluation by a stroke expert, even if a patient is in a community emergency department 50 miles away.

“Premier Health’s telehealth program continues to grow, expanding access to our medical experts,” said Alex Pohlman, director of telehealth for Premier Health. “We are excited to be working with UD’s School of Engineering to look for ways to further the capabilities of our telehealth program. The research and technological developments made by these talented students will further support our mission of providing the highest quality patient care.”

Premier Health is currently in the process of upgrading 20 mobile carts across the health system with stethoscopes, otoscopes, light panels and optical filters. The added features will enhance care delivery in areas such as wound care, neurology, neonatology, and emergency services.

“Premier Health’s telehealth program has offered our electrical and computer engineering students an exciting opportunity in experiential learning and a new pathway to explore a possible career in the healthcare field,” said Amy Doll, PhD, PE, biomedical engineer and associate professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Dayton. “Such a substantive project allows us to apply electrical and computer engineering skillsets, as well as innovative technology available at UD such as 3D printing, to a multidisciplinary industry-based problem wherein cross-functional teams are working together to create real solutions.”

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