KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Wellmont Health System in Kingsport is educating other medical professionals in a way that only few in the nation can.
Wellmont's Heart Institute is so advanced that it can transmit some of its procedures as they are being performed to medical professionals hundreds of miles away.
All it takes is a camera, an earpiece, and a headset for 1,000 physicians and nurses in New Orleans to learn firsthand what Wellmont's cardiovascular surgeons can do.
It's called a live case transmission, and one of the largest medical conferences in the country chose Wellmont to perform it.
"Usually places like San Francisco, New York, and so on...so Kingsport, Tennessee is very nice. This is a testimony to what has been developed with a team approach here with the cardiovascular team," Chris Metzger, a surgeon, says.
Wellmont is one of five health systems in the country that is participating in the project.
The two-day seminar hosted by New Cardiovascular Horizons is a showcase for Metzger and his team to educate medical professionals on some different techniques.
"Some are going to be interventions in the arteries going into the legs, so people who hurt severely when they walk, or who have ulcers or are facing amputations...also corroded stents for blocked arteries going up to the brain that put them at high risk for stroke," he says.
There will be six different cases - all unique or challenging. Each patient signed a consent form and were willing to participate to educate others.
"When most people think it will help somebody else, we have wonderful folks here that would say, 'Yeah, I'd like to help someone else," Metzger says.
Metzger has an earpiece to hear audience questions and can then respond during surgery.
Despite the technology, he says this "beautiful learning opportunity" is not at all distracting.
"We do this every day, and we have a great team. So we are so used to interacting with each other. It's a good adrenaline. It's game day," Metzger says.
Wellmont Health System has participated in these seminars in the past, but this year is different.
The Heart Institute was invited to transmit a live case transmission for five meetings this year.