Ella Antolini ’21 has long had an interest in telehealth, and since the start of the pandemic, that interest has only become more pertinent. This summer she is interning in the neuroscience department of Maine Medical Center, working to review and improve telehealth services.
Telehealth focuses on providing healthcare services via telecommunications, such as phone or video call. At Maine Medical Center, Antolini is primarily assisting the tele-stroke division of the neuroscience department. “I live in Maine, and a lot of the rural hospitals don’t have access to specialists, like neurologists and surgeons, so the tele-stroke department is basically a collaboration between the overarching Maine Health Association and a bunch of smaller hospitals,” she explained.
Hometown: Yarmouth, Maine
High school: Yarmouth Public High School
Antolini assists with reviewing the tele-stroke division’s efficiency and accessibility. In addition to taking meeting minutes, she reviews medical reports to help map the efficiency of the division’s services. For example, she helps centralize data on length of time before a patient connects with a specialist, length of time before a doctor administers medicine, and whether a patient transfers to another hospital, among other information. Antolini has also reviewed the program’s website, researching ways to make the site more accessible to elderly patients and overall more appealing.
A neuroscience major active in on-campus research, Antolini is familiar with the medical side of her internship, though she says that she has gained new analytical skills through her experience. In addition to learning about telehealth more broadly, she said she feels more confident in her data abstraction skills. “The data that we’re abstracting is productivity and efficiency, and [I’m learning] to present those statistics and numbers back to the people they came from … in a motivating fashion.”
Antolini appreciates the effort her supervisor has put into giving her a valuable learning experience, despite the internship being remote. “I don’t feel like I’m just a help to [the center]. They really, really care about my learning,” she said. “You don’t get to just go places freely these days, and they even made an effort to make sure that I got certified to go to a hospital to watch them do a trial run for the new tele-stroke camera and video.”
Antolini enjoys her internship and is interested in further working in telehealth after she graduates from Hamilton. She might pursue a master’s degree in public health and make her way to the CDC, but for now, she’s pleased with exploring telehealth’s emerging capabilities.