Telemedicine can connect rural healthcare providers with other health professionals around the country as they work with patients. That added expertise can make the difference between life and death in emergency situations. According to the new Chief Medical Officer of Avel eCare, the technology can also make a difference in retaining healthcare workers who might otherwise burn out.
Dr. Kelly Rhone is a board-certified emergency physician and has worked in telemedicine for fifteen years. She’s seen telemedicine give healthcare providers access to the mentorship and emotional support they don’t have in their own facility.
“When you’re walking someone through a patient death, you’re able to tell them, ‘You did everything that would’ve happened in a tertiary center. There’s nothing different that would’ve happened had that patient been somewhere else. You did everything you could,'” Dr. Rhone explained. “I’ve had many other healthcare workers tell me it was the first time they slept through the night after they had a case like that.”
Avel eCare team members also review difficult cases with doctors to find ways to improve. Dr. Rhone said both emotional support and mentorship play a role in retaining healthcare workers, and telemedicine can be part of the solution to burnout.
Dr. Rhone joined Avel eCare in 2012 and served as interim CMO starting in April 2022. She’s from Vermillion, South Dakota, and earned her medical degree from the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine. Avel eCare served 650 facilities across 32 states. Its headquarters is in Sioux Falls.