St. Joe’s to help care for Rome hospital’s heart patients

Rome Memorial Hospital (RMH) and St. Joseph’s Health are teaming up to offer patients in rural areas access to highly advanced cardiac care. The “Bluetooth stethoscope” technology being used at the Cardiovascular Institute at RMH allows doctors to hear and see a patient’s heartbeat without physically being there.

“This technology is the first of its kind in the region,” said physician Russell Silverman, medical director of the St. Joseph’s Health heart failure clinic and chief medical officer at RMH. “It enables us to bring high quality heart care to areas that might otherwise not be served by these types of subspecialties.”

During a consultation, the patient at RMH is accompanied by a nurse or respiratory therapist (RT). They connect via computer to the cardiologist in Syracuse. The cardiologist speaks with the patient to assess how he or she is feeling. Then, the nurse or RT moves the Bluetooth stethoscope to different parts of the patient’s chest and neck so the physician can hear and see the patient’s heart activity.

“Our goal is to use this remarkable technology to keep patients close to home,” said Silverman. “By treating their heart issues using the Bluetooth stethoscope, we hope to avoid transferring them out of town to St. Joseph’s Health Hospital if they don’t need tertiary care. They can stay close to their loved ones, which is what we strive for.”

St. Joseph’s Health and RMH are the only hospitals in the region using this technology. Silverman says the increase of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic helped to progress the program and make it a reality. RMH is currently using the Bluetooth stethoscope for inpatient and ER consultations.

St. Joseph’s Health is one of only eight hospitals in the nation to be named an American Heart Association Center of Excellence, one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals for Cardiac Surgery according to a national study by Healthgrades, and it received the highest performance rating for Heart Bypass Surgery by U.S. News and World Report.