Published on September 26, 2013

New video conferencing at St. Vincent's

Reported by: Noël McLaren, Action News

At the new St. Vincent's Clay Hospital, a new lifesaving tool is right at the patient's fingertips.

The state-of-the-art intensive care unit is equipped with video conferencing, connecting patients almost instantly to specialists while they wait for on-call doctors to arrive at their bedside.

"It's another 20-30 minutes versus 20-30 seconds," said hospital president, Blain Claypool.

These seconds could mean survival.

"This does not replace doctors; your physician at Clay will still be taking care of you," said Claypool.

Physicians dialed into the rooms monitor patients' vitals 24 hours a day, 365 days a year from a St. Louis headquarters.

It's the first of its kind in Florida. Although it's first class care, it doesn't have a first class price tag; it's completely free.

"It's an added benefit that we as a hospital pay for," said Claypool. "It's an added benefit that we don't charge the patients for."

The hospital's ER had a similar mobile system. Specialists from other hospitals can be paged to see patients faster, speeding up the ER wait time.

St. Vincent's hopes to install similar technology at their existing locations in Riverside and on the Southside.