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Hospital launches telehealth program for endocrinology care

WESTFIELD — Chautauqua County residents who need specialty care that is not available in the region will now have access to that care close to home through a new specialty telehealth program established by Westfield Memorial Hospital, part of the Allegheny Health Network.

The program launched in September with its first specialty, endocrinology, through services provided by Dr. Kersthine Andre, part of the Chautauqua Medical Practice. In the coming months, the hospital will offer additional services in the area of rheumatology with more specialties planned for the future.

The Westfield Memorial Hospital specialty telehealth services will be provided utilizing an InTouch telehealth cart located inside the Meyers Cottage at 185 E. Main St., Westfield. The device allows for two-way video and voice communication between the patient and the provider.

Visits, which generally last 30 minutes, provide the same level of care and confidentiality as an in person physician visit to a physician office.

Patients will first meet with Westfield Memorial Hospital staff, who will provide the necessary in-person clinical services, such as securing and recording vital signs. The staff will then manage the telehealth connection between the patient and Dr. Andre to ensure seamless connectivity.

Hospital staff has been specifically trained to work with the telehealth program and manage the needs of patients participating in the program.

“The new telehealth specialty program is an amazing opportunity for patients in Chautauqua County to access high-level specialty services without having to drive great distances,” said Karen Surkala, Westfield Memorial Hospital president. “It provides all of the components of a traditional face-to-face visit with less travel time. It is part of Allegheny Health Network and Highmark Health’s commitment to keeping quality care close to home.”

Telehealth visits at WMH are typically covered under most insurance plans.

Dr. Andre, also a physician at Allegheny Health Network, will see new patients as well as conduct follow-up visits utilizing the telehealth technology. She treats patients for diabetes mellitus, thyroid, parathyroid, lipid metabolism, and general endocrinology conditions. Among her clinical interests are diabetes mellitus and bone diseases.

Dr. Andre received her medical degree from University Notre Dame d’Haiti, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Coney Island Hospital, Brooklyn, New York. She furthered her training with a fellowship in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the AGH-WPH Medical Education Consortium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The technology was purchased through a NYSARH Grant and with help from the Westfield Memorial Hospital Foundation.

To learn more about the program or schedule an appointment, call 326-4921.

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