DETROIT (September 15, 2021) – Henry Ford Health System is harnessing the convenience and value of telemedicine to boost access to highly specialized care for referral patients in the mid-Michigan area.
For two decades Henry Ford has been a referral destination for mid-Michigan physicians whose patients require an advanced level of care not readily available locally. The newly opened Henry Ford Medical Center-Saginaw builds on that partnership by providing these patients access to Henry Ford specialists using the latest technology in telemedicine services.
Patient consultations are done in the privacy in one of the five exam rooms, which are equipped with secure, high-tech telemedicine equipment more advanced than a typical video visit. From their office in metro Detroit, Henry Ford specialists can examine patients in their exam room 80-100 miles away that is on par with an in-person visit.
Nirmal Kaur, M.D., Medical Director of Specialty Centers and Director of Henry Ford’s Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Center, said the medical center allows patients to meet with their specialist in the comfort of a local medical office, while minimizing their travel time.
“Video visits have improved the convenience of medical care,” Dr. Kaur said of her referral patients, “but many patients struggle with the logistics of these visits and would really benefit from a telemedicine clinic. Our medical center allows for patients to have access to our tertiary-level specialists who provide advanced clinical services that are not available locally.”
Mike Alsgaard, a resident of Frankenmuth and patient of Dr. Kaur’s, said he would welcome the shorter drive to the Saginaw medical center for future follow-up care. Previously, he underwent three procedures at Henry Ford and made one or two in-person office visits. The drive logged 85 miles each way.
“Any time I didn’t have to travel down there (to metro Detroit area), it was a reward for me,” he said, adding that his routine video visits were easy and satisfying.
Alsgaard said he is grateful to his Henry Ford specialists who successfully treated him for his medical condition.
“I’m very grateful for what Henry Ford has done for me,” said Alsgaard, who is married and the father of three children and three grandchildren. “I’m feeling really great.”
The medical center is located at 5375 Hampton Place in an office park just off I-675. Formerly the site of a dialysis center, the medical center is open from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday. It is staffed by a nurse practitioner and two medical assistants. Telemedicine consults are the only service provided at the site.
During the consultation, a Henry Ford team member will take the patient’s vital signs and set-up the secure video connection with the Henry Ford specialist seen on a 17-inch monitor in the room. The telemedicine technology has a built-in, high-definition camera and an otoscope and stethoscope that enhances the capability of the visit. Doctors can look inside a patient’s throat and ears and listen to their heart and lungs with clarity and sounds that are equal to doing it in person.
If a decision is made for a patient to undergo surgery or a procedure, Henry Ford will coordinate the appointment at its hospital in Detroit or West Bloomfield. Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit also offers housing accommodations for patients traveling from afar. Dr. Kaur emphasized that blood work and imaging tests would be done through the patient’s local provider.
Medley Larkin, D.O., a Saginaw-based gastroenterologist, has been referring patients to Henry Ford for nearly 20 years and commends the advanced care expertise of their specialists. The collaboration allows for a “continuity of care,” she said.
“It’s a win-win situation for patients,” Dr. Larkin said during a recent visit to the medical center. “They have the opportunity to have continuity of their care locally and use subspecialists that we don’t have available in this area. This fosters better health care for the patient.”
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About Henry Ford Health System
Founded in 1915 by Henry Ford himself, Henry Ford Health System is a non-profit, integrated health system committed to improving people’s lives through excellence in the science and art of healthcare and healing. Henry Ford Health System includes Henry Ford Medical Group, with more than 1,900 physicians and researchers practicing in more than 50 specialties at locations throughout Southeast and Central Michigan. Acute care hospitals include Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, MI and Henry Ford Allegiance Health in Jackson, MI – both Magnet® hospitals; Henry Ford Macomb Hospital; Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital; and Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital.
The largest of these is Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, a quaternary care research and teaching hospital and Level 1 Trauma Center recognized for clinical excellence in cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, neurology, neurosurgery, and multi-organ transplants. The health system also provides comprehensive, best-in-class care for cancer at the Brigitte Harris Cancer Pavilion, and orthopedics and sports medicine at the William Clay Ford Center for Athletic Medicine – both in Detroit. As one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, Henry Ford Health System annually trains more than 3,000 medical students, residents, and fellows in more than 50 accredited programs, and has trained nearly 40% of the state’s physicians. Our dedication to education and research is supported by nearly $100 million in annual grants from the National Institutes of Health and other public and private foundations.
Our not-for-profit health plan, Health Alliance Plan (HAP) provides health coverage for more than 540,000 people.
Henry Ford Health System employs more than 33,000 people, including more than 1,600 physicians, more than 6,600 nurses and 5,000 allied health professionals.