As Ruth Blogdett, the senior vice president of planning and program development for Berkshire Medical Center (BMC) likes to say, health care does not just happen in Boston.
Recovery Act Impact: Berkshires Medical Center
That is why the stimulus award BMC received was so significant: The $164K award went to purchase equipment to support training by Berkshire Area Health Education Center (AHEC).
In fact, BMC was Berkshire AHEC's first offsite training site for University of Massachusetts Medical School's students. "We are using technology so we can have more students at BMC connected back to the main campus," said Linda Crogan, Director of Massachusetts AHEC network. "We are thrilled to use stimulus money to further our mission and enhance patient care."
According to Bill Young, BMC's chief information officer, the funds enabled BMC to upgrade its audio-visual components, projectors and sound systems and implement remote applications. The video conferencing technology works with other institutions and sessions can be recorded and played back. "People can work remotely and be part of presentations," he said.
The Center also has a small portable unit that is currently being used as a teaching tool but Young said that patient care will be woven into it once electronic health records are available. "Without this grant we wouldn't have been able to do this easily and we'll see its value for years," he noted.
In addition, the equipment enables students to participate in distance learning. "These teaching programs have improved the quality of patient care and helped identify best practices," said Dr. Martin Broder, the director of academic affairs and associate dean of education at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
In total, Young estimated that the technology will touch all 3000 employees in BMC's network in some way.
In addition, the award provided BMC with digital radiography equipment for its dental center. "It's a great diagnostic tool," said Marco Castellini, a dentist at the Center. "We can see things we couldn't have seen before and we can do a better treatment plan. It's also a great educational tool for me and for the residents."
As Blodgett pointed out, "These stimulus dollars are going a long way.