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High Point Regional launches telemedicine program for burn victims

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HIGH POINT, N.C. -- It’s a new frontier for medicine—patients getting treatment from doctors without physically being in the same room.

High Point Regional is launching a telemedicine program specifically for burn victims.

Emergency room doctors and nurses will be able to interact with a burn specialist at The North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill via a machine that has two-way communication abilities.

The machine’s built-in cameras allow doctors at the burn center to see the patient at High Point Regional and provide a full assessment.

"They are actually able to lay eyes on the patient, lay eyes on the burn, and give specific recommendations,” said Dr. Kevin Largen, a High Point Regional emergency physician and medical director.

Largen explains that the emergency room has always provided care to burn patients, but in some cases, it’s important to coordinate care prior to transfer.

Before the robot was available, emergency teams would describe injuries over the phone for specialists at the burn center.

"They were going on descriptions which are very standard, but still nothing really takes the place of them actually seeing the burn, seeing the location, the depth,” Largen said.

High Point Regional has used telemedicine in other departments prior to this latest addition to its emergency room.

The latest device will launch in the emergency room Aug. 14.

A trial run was conducted earlier this month without any problems.

The device will be available across all UNC affiliated hospitals at different times this fall.