The emergency department at Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center, a 25-bed critical access hospital in Windsor, Vt., is staffed by physician assistants, with an emergency physician on backup. But if the hospital needs more immediate help, the push of a button will summon emergency medicine specialists — from South Dakota.

A two-way, high-definition video/audio link connects two Mt. Ascutney Hospital emergency bays to Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Avera Health, a leading provider of tele-emergency services.

Board-certified emergency physicians support the Mt. Ascutney Hospital physician assistants while Avera’s ED nurses work on documentation, place orders and arrange transport, if needed.

“This allows us to focus our attention on the patient,” says Patti Strohla, R.N., director of clinical transformation at Mt. Ascutney Hospital. “Our telehealth partners at Avera will initiate the contact with a helicopter team, get them in the air and provide them with all the information, so we can continue our clinical care.”

Mt. Ascutney’s use of telehealth and other health IT initiatives have landed the small, rural hospital on this year’s Most Wired list. The annual Most Wired survey measures the level of IT adoption in U.S. hospitals and health systems, and serves as a tool for hospital and health system leadership to map their IT strategic plans. Read the full report from our sister magazine, Hospitals & Health Networks, for more information.