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Column: Five years later, you have access to more expert care locally

Brian Whited

Dr. Brian Whited is CEO of Mayo Clinic Health System in Cannon Falls, Lake City, Red Wing.

July marks five years since the medical center in Red Wing joined the Mayo Clinic family. As we recently celebrated the milestone anniversary with employees and Red Wing Area Chamber ambassadors, we reflected on the many enhancements to local health care.

Whether you live in Red Wing or a neighboring community, you can now get most of your health care needs close to home. We brought in more providers, services and technologies throughout the past five years to give you access to world-class expertise, new specialty care and enhanced diagnostics and treatments. You really don't have to travel far to get the best care Mayo has to offer.

Some of our new Mayo specialty services include cardiology, pain medicine, nephrology, dermatology, endocrinology, midwifery, neurology and urology. All of our medical and surgical specialists collaborate with colleagues within their specialty across Mayo Clinic to ensure you're getting the best care. A number of Red Wing providers even spend part of their work week seeing patients and performing procedures on our Rochester campus. They travel so you don't have to.

Our hospital implemented a 24/7 hospitalist staffing model ensuring hospitalized patients have expert care available on-site at all times. In addition, our intensive care unit is now equipped with sophisticated telemedicine equipment to provide enhanced critical care services. If you find yourself in our ICU, you will be cared for at the bedside by local hospital experts and also monitored remotely by subspecialists — doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and nurses trained in critical care — who work 24/7 on our Rochester campus.

Every second counts during a stroke. If you come to our emergency department with stroke symptoms, our ED experts will immediately initiate a telemedicine connection with neurology subspecialists available 24/7 on our Rochester campus. This will help reduce your risk of long-term disability or death resulting from stroke.

In the rare event that mom or baby has a complication during labor and delivery that requires a subspecialist, our OB/GYN providers will initiate a telemedicine connection with neonatologists available 24/7 on our Rochester campus. Using a tablet in the delivery room, eDelivery allows for immediate highly specialized guidance and observation of mom and baby.

We even offer psychiatry consultations for kids via telemedicine saving parents a trip.

Advanced technology such as our new mammography machine with tomosynthesis or 3-D imaging capabilities, or our new MRI scanner with capabilities identical to those used at our Rochester campus have enhanced our ability to diagnose patients more accurately so treatment and healing begins sooner.

Behind the scenes, we use the same testing and treatment protocols in Red Wing as the rest of Mayo Clinic for many common conditions which ensures patients receive consistent care regardless of which Mayo site they visit. Our shared electronic health record is available to anyone caring for the patient.

You can also get into our primary care clinic as early as 7 a.m. and as late as 7 p.m. most weekdays when it might be more convenient for your schedule.

Meanwhile, Red Wing also continues to be recognized for its quality, safety and patient experience. Last year, we were ranked third out of 124 community hospitals across the nation for demonstrating superior performance, as measured by Vizient's Quality and Accountability Study, which has been conducted annually since 2005.

Why have we focused so much on bringing more care to patients locally? It's a time of tremendous change in national, regional and local health care. Individuals, employers and our government are working to contain health care costs that simply are not sustainable. We're not immune to this change and working hard to deliver care in a way that manages costs and allows you to spend less time and money traveling. We want to continue to make Red Wing and surrounding communities thriving, healthy places to live.