Baton Rouge Mayor-President Melvin L. "Kip" Holden last week introduced a telemedicine pilot program that provides a wireless video and data link between EMS and local hospitals. The program was launched today at the Emergency Room at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center (OLOL), the first local hospital to go online with the new services.

Today, Baton Rouge becomes only the second city in the nation to offer this state-of-the-art emergency medical service through our local EMS," Holden said. "With this technology, Emergency Room physicians can begin working with our paramedics to evaluate patients' needs even before they reach the hospital. Simply put, we can reduce the time until treatment begins and save lives."

"BR Med-Connect" provides a video and data computer system that utilizes high-quality cameras, advanced cardiac monitors and other diagnostic devices transmitted over the city's high-speed wireless mesh network.

"BR Med-Connect" is a pilot program between EMS and Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center to develop the East Baton Rouge Parish telemedicine program. Our Lady of The Lake Hospital is the pilot hospital because of an existing in-house telemedicine program within its intensive care unit. All East Baton Rouge Parish hospitals will be linked to the program.

Holden's interest in a telemedicine program for Baton Rouge came about when he was one of six U.S. Mayors selected to participate in an international Conference of Mayors held in Jerusalem in 2007 and the group toured the respected Hadassah Hospital. "When we saw how doctors were evaluating patients while they were being transported to the hospital and delivering treatment more quickly, I came back to Baton Rouge and met with our EMS and Information Services Department to see how we could deploy a similar system using our existing public safety wireless network," Holden said.

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