The Importance of Philanthropy

A tenet of the Sisters of Mercy’s mission is providing care to those in need. For a patient suffering a stroke hours away from the nearest Stroke Center, the need can be dire.

In recognition of this need, in 2008 the Harry C. & Deborah L. Elliott Family Foundation gave a $500,000 gift to Mercy Foundation to improve access to stroke care in communities outside the metropolitan Sacramento area. By the fall of that year, this generous gift had jump-started what is known today as the Dignity Health Telemedicine Network, which began the work of bridging the miles that can often separate critically ill patients from the advanced care they so urgently need.

To connect distant patients with medical specialists, the Telemedicine Network uses remote presence technology. This technology is particularly effective in stroke care because of the very short timeframe (just three hours) in which the most effective stroke treatment must be administered. Telemedicine technology helps local physicians administer treatment quickly under the direction of the remote stroke specialist (neurologist), who is able to see and speak with both the patient and the local care team through two-way audio and visual contact. The technology is so advanced that the remote physician can even see the patient’s pupils and eye movements, using the system’s robotic cameras.

The impact of the Dignity Health Telemedicine Network has been profound. In 2014, the Telemedicine Network provided more than 6,000 Telemedicine consults to remote patients. The program has seen exponential growth every year and has added more specialties such as ICU care and mental health services. The Telemedicine Network includes facilities located throughout California and Nevada. 

Thanks to the first gift from the Elliott Family Foundation, the Dignity Health Telemedicine Network is providing a direct connection between highly specialized services and patients in need.

Mercy Foundation is deeply grateful for the support by its many donors, whose kindness, compassion and generosity mean everything to those in need.

To learn more about other donors who offer their philanthropic support through Mercy Foundation, visit our Why Giving Matters page and read their stories.