| December 7, 2018

Hospital in rural Illinois uses technology to help patients get healthy

Rural Illinois is using new and innovative technology to help advance their current healthcare models to provide better services for residents.

Streator, Illinois, with a population of about 13,000, lost its one and only hospital in 2016. Illinois healthcare in that region was threatened due to the chaos created for area residents, who no longer had easy access to medical care. OSF Healthcare announced a $30.5 million renovation to help promote health and wellness in a community with limited population. However, they are still in need of better healthcare.

Mayor Jimmie Lansford said in a statement “Streator is a community that is very generous, and they’re very loyal and very charitable”. The residents of Illinois are in need of proper access to medical care, but Lansford believes that OSF’s establishment is a big step forward for Streator. “And you can tell them something, but they really don’t believe it unless they can see it or touch it; then they will believe it,” says Lansford.

With many hospitals closing in rural areas, companies have to find new and innovative ways to provide adequate healthcare. Closing the hospital in Streator, Illinois was a devastating event that put Illinois healthcare for the region in a tough situation. The planned renovation by OSF, valued at $30.5 million, will extend the type of care given in Illinois to its residents. Center for Health – Streator is one element of OSF’s plan to bring wellness into a rural community where proper comprehensive healthcare is no longer available.

What is OSF Healthcare?

OSF Healthcare is a not-for-profit Catholic healthcare corporation located in Peoria, Illinois. OSF is owned by The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis. Currently, the corporation consists of 13 acute care facilities and two colleges of nursing. Their intention is to support new healthcare related paradigms that include different social determinants of health.

OSF plans to incorporate technology into the existing healthcare system in Streator. Before OSF announced their $30.5 million renovation in the town, much groundwork had to be laid to ensure a healthy community is built with its efforts. Research was conducted through surveys and in collaborations with wellness-related organizations that are already in Streator.

According to Don Damron, the Vice President of Ambulatory Services of OSF HealthCare Saint Elizabeth Medical Center, “What’s been challenging to us is [finding] a good balance of providing that medical clinical care that we have historically” He says, “Plus building and renovating the facility in a way that is innovative and is forthcoming to what is in the future plans for the community and health delivery across the country.”

How is the Center for Health helping Illinois Healthcare?

Center for Health is run by OSF Healthcare and ranges across four regions. This new enhanced renovation includes renovating the 55-year-old hospital, with plans to finish this project in the summer of 2019.

Center for Health plans to enhance their technology in order to transform rural health care to provide a better continuity between social service organizations and health care providers.

What will this renovation include?

These renovations are planned for the Spring Street facility, including OSF specialty clinics, rehabilitation, and primary care departments. They will revamp the entrance and lobby to include digital technology for registration purposes. It will also include a technology bar for computer users with the help of digital health tools so that residents have quick access to healthcare.

The innovative technology is transforming Illinois healthcare with its launch. It will include Patient Wisdom which is an online survey platform that turns “health transactions into healing relationship”. Their digital platforms have a profound impact on healthcare for patients, families, and caregivers simply by having OSF employees listening to the needs of the patients.

In addition, Pieces Technologies will be adopted by OSF to advance regional Illinois healthcare. Pieces Technologies provides built-in solutions to help make healthcare decisions easier. They have created solutions using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to follow patients on a daily basis to better diagnose and treat them.

OSF is also adding many different education and meeting rooms to help create an efficient but still welcoming environment for patients. On top of these renovations, social determinants of health will be addressed in order to connect the citizenry with community organizations. Pieces Technologies and Patient Wisdom will both help Center for Health providers to communicate directly with patients for any resources they may need, including transportation, housing, and other social issues.

Mayor Lansford is excited about and confident in the promises that are delivered by OSF and its team. OSF is a model project for others plans they are expecting to complete in the near future. For now, though, the Streator project is scheduled to be completed by summer 2019.

 


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