Since 1993, EMTN has provided telemedicine services to the region. EMTN enjoys a reputation as a mature and successful telemedicine network, a leader in the nation. Since our inception, EMTN has conducted15,728 clinical encounters averaging over 1200 encounters annually.
During 2006 EMTN upgraded its entire network to H323/H.264 videoconferencing technology. This upgrade will support improved video and audio quality and facilitate moving our telemedicine technology in the clinical practice flow.
A multiple use approach to network development has been the hallmark of the Eastern Montana Telemedicine Network. During 2006, medical and mental health clinical encounters, community health and continuing medical education, administrative and telebusiness activity accounted for a total of 1,926 videoconferences with 10,775 participants. These diverse services bring value to individual member facilities and their communities at large.
Tele-mental Health services are EMTN's leading medical application. Nine hundred and seventy-five (975) mental health consultations were conducted during 2005. An additional 280 medical consults were conducted in the specialty areas of cardiology, nephrology, diabetes education, emergency medicine, ENT and radiology. Other clinical applications included registered dietician services, employee assistance counseling and geriatric assessment services. Billings Clinic Emergency Department is available for consultative services 24 hours a day. Medical and mental health services represent over 65% of the total activity on the network. This year alone medical and mental health services saved patients $529,199 in out of pocket expenses. Patient and provider satisfaction remains extremely high. Ninety four percent (94%) of the patients seen over telemedicine were retained in their local community. Ninety-six (96%) of the providers identified that patients seen over telemedicine would have been referred out of the community if the technology had not been available.
Education and administrative use represents significant activity on the network. The 200 educational activities conducted over the EMTN represents an annual savings of $565,074 in travel costs and lost wages to participants. The 239 administrative meetings conducted over the EMTN saved network members $448,363 in travel costs. Telebusiness, our interactive videoconferencing application, generated $12,259 in revenue helping to offset the overall costs of the network.