The Cleveland connection

Cleveland Clinic launches new telehealth options to get patients connected with doctors in real time. 

Doctors from the renowned Cleveland Clinic in the United States visited Cayman recently to introduce new Web-based methods for patients to get second opinions from its specialists and for doctors to keep track of patients they refer to the clinic in real time. 

Dr. Antonio Briceño, vice president of International Medical Affairs for Cleveland Clinic, said the recently launched services mean easier and faster communication between patients and doctors in Cayman and at the Cleveland Clinic and would benefit the growing numbers of patients the clinic’s Florida location is seeing referred from Cayman. 

The DrConnect system enables a referring doctor in Cayman can track, in real time, every step of the progress of a patient he or she has referred to the clinic, so a doctor can virtually do his or her “rounds” of patients over the Web. 

“With DrConnect, it is possible for a doctor referring a patient for tertiary care for things you don’t have here, like cardiac surgery or intervention radiology. The doctor, in real time, can know what’s going on with a patient. Definitely, from a cost containment point of view, we can help a lot with that,” Briceño said. 

Another system, called MyConsult, provides medical second opinions from specialists for patients with life-threatening or life-altering diagnoses, 24 hours a day.  

Briceño explained that this service could mean that patients who would otherwise have to travel off island for a second opinion could get that second opinion without even getting on a plane. 

He said he has also just started another new system, the Global Physician Associate Programme, “which is something we created to partner with physician colleagues here in Cayman and in Central and South America”. 

“Through this programme, we put in their hands all the educational programmes we have for our staff in the Cleveland Clinic and for the physicians in general in the United States. The Cleveland Clinic was founded as an institution based on education, research and innovation and this programme is a phenomenal tool for colleagues in Latin America and Cayman to be updated on what is new, to recognise the innovations we have been collaborating on in the medical field for years,” Briceño said. 

Programmes such as these, along with regular lectures and seminars given in person by specialists from the Cleveland Clinic and continuing referrals from local doctors, mean that the Cleveland Clinic retains close links with the Cayman Islands, said Briceño. 

Another close link is through Dr. Kevin Stadtlander, an intervention radiologist, whose parents have been residents in Cayman since 1988. 

Stadtlander gave a seminar to doctors at the Marriott Hotel last month on the use of intervention radiology to stop gastrointestinal bleeding and for treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma and metastatic liver cancer. 

Intervention radiology is a subspeciality of radiologist in which the practitioner, like a radiologist, performs and interprets MRIs, CT scans, ultrasounds and mammograms, but then uses those imaging modalities to perform minimally invasive surgical procedures to stem bleeding or to treat medical conditions. “Some call it pinhole surgery,” Dr. Stadtlander explained. 

He has seen several patients from Cayman over the years and says it puts patients at ease when he explains his connection to the Island. His mother ran the Coffee Grinder in Seven Mile Shops, where Icoa is now located, and his father is an orthodontist with a practice at Pasadora Place. 

“It’s funny, when I come here to lecture, some people I come across know the name Stadtlander and wonder why a dentist is talking to them about this medical stuff, so I have to explain that we’re two different people,” Stadtlander said.  

During their visit, the Cleveland Clinic doctors met with physicians on the Island and also shared information on the services they provide with Minister of Health Mark Scotland. 

The Cleveland Clinic, which was founded in 1921, is a non-profit multi-specialty academic medical centre that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education.  

It has 2,700 doctors and scientists on its staff.  

Its main campus is in Cleveland, but it also has sites in Weston, Florida; Canada, Nevada and Abu Dhabi. 

Dr Antonio Briceno and Dr Kevin Stadtlander

Dr. Antonio Briceño left, and Dr. Kevin Stadtlander from the Cleveland Clinic on their recent visit to Cayman.