AU Health adds Bacon County Hospital and Health System to Rural Hospital Virtual Care Network

Nurse on telehealth
Written by Lisa Kaylor

AU Health has added Bacon County Hospital and Health System to its Rural Hospital Virtual Care Network, which comprises 16 hospitals across Georgia and allows patients in rural areas to receive AU Health’s world-class care closer to home.

Through this network, Bacon County Hospital and Health System and other rural health systems can use teleconferencing equipment, software and portable point-of-care equipment like ultrasound machines and airway devices to allow physicians and specialists at AU Health and the Medical College of Georgia to guide local physicians through diagnostic tests and procedures. This enables patients to remain in their local hospitals while receiving the same level of specialized care they would receive in a larger hospital. Not only is this more comfortable for the patient, but it much less expensive than transferring to a hospital in a larger city.

“For Bacon County, this partnership means we can take care of local patients in our organization and have a network of specialists readily available,” said Kyle Lott, Chief Operating Officer of Bacon County Hospital and Health System. “I’m excited for this partnership and look forward to the opportunities it brings.”

The Rural Hospital Virtual Care currently partners with 16 rural hospitals. More than 2,000 patients have been treated in their home community and increased viability for their local hospitals. While keeping patients in their home community is cheaper for the patients, for rural hospitals it means increased revenue, which helps those hospitals provide high-quality care.

“Bacon was a great location because they are a critical access hospital that has OB/GYN services, which is very unique for a rural community hospital. What we have been trying to do is create the clinical affiliations with sites to help strengthen the relationship and provide opportunities to put residents or medical students on site to learn in rural Georgia, to hopefully retain those students in rural Georgia,” said Lauren Hopkins, Associate Vice President of Virtual Care and Community Engagement at AU Health.

The Rural Hospital Virtual Care Network is part of AU Health’s telehealth initiative, which also includes Virtual Care at Home.