Berlin, Md. – Residents of the lower Eastern Shore who may require advanced lung surgery,
including those with diagnosed or suspected cancers, will soon be able
to meet with leading experts in thoracic surgery at the University of
Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) in Baltimore without leaving the Shore.
These video teleconferencing consultations are starting this month thanks
to an expanded telemedicine partnership between UMMC and Atlantic General
Hospital (AGH) in Berlin. UMMC, the University of Maryland Medical System’s
academic medical center, already provides around-the-clock remote monitoring
of ICU patients at AGH as part of the University of Maryland eCare network.
By video teleconferencing, UMMC thoracic surgeons will virtually consult
with a patient at AGH and review CT scans and other tests to see if he
or she is a surgical candidate. The entire work-up and pre-operative consultation
is done locally. If a surgical procedure is needed, it will be performed at UMMC.
“There are numerous articles in the lung cancer literature that show,
when surgery is done at an academic medical center, patients have longer
survival and fewer complications, compared to those who receive surgery
at nonacademic centers. By teaming with UMMC, we can offer our patients
on the Eastern Shore the highest quality care in a community setting,”
says Peter Costantini, M.D., pulmonologist with Atlantic General Health System.
Six surgeons in the Division of Thoracic Surgery at UMMC will take part
in the program. All of the surgeries will take place at UMMC, which is
also home to the University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer
Center (UMGCCC), a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive
“We expect that these appointments will be very much like a patient
visit in our office here in Baltimore,” says Joseph Friedberg, M.D.,
the Charles Reid Edwards Professor of Surgery and Head of the Division
of Thoracic Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and
Thoracic Surgeon-in-Chief of the University of Maryland Medical System.
“We want this experience to be very convenient for patients and
to decrease some of the stress they are experiencing related to their
“We are very pleased to partner with Atlantic General in this first
step toward building a robust thoracic surgery telemedicine program in
Maryland and the region,” says Dr. Friedberg.
“Living on the lower Eastern Shore has many advantages, but historically
access to the most advanced specialty care has been difficult. Embracing
telemedicine technology to bring specialists and care
to the patient, rather than making patients travel several hours when they are not feeling
well, creates the best of all worlds for those of us living in this great
community,” says Michael Franklin, President and CEO of Atlantic
“The goal of expanding the telemedicine service at Atlantic General
Hospital is to utilize the latest technological advances we have in an
effort to save patients and their families from traveling more than two
hours one-way to Baltimore from Berlin to be evaluated and ensure that
at least their initial care can be done in the patients’ local community,”
said Marc T. Zubrow, M.D., Vice President, Telemedicine and Medical Director,
eCare, University of Maryland Medical System.
The program will include post-operative and follow-up telemedicine visits
as well. UMMC surgeons will also take part in Atlantic General’s
local Tumor Board, a multidisciplinary team of specialists who meet to
discuss their patients’ cancer treatments.
Eventually, patients will be able to receive second opinions as well as
treatment planning, via telemedicine from UMMC specialists for a variety
of cancer diagnoses. These visits will be conducted in coordination with
the medical oncologists at Atlantic General’s new John H. “Jack”
Burbage Regional Cancer Care Center, which is scheduled to open in the
spring of 2018.
Atlantic General Hospital’s History of Telemedicine
Atlantic General Hospital’s experience with telemedicine began with
the launch of University of Maryland eCare to provide around-the-clock
remote monitoring of ICU patients in 2010. Shortly thereafter, AGH expanded
much-needed behavioral health services in 2011 through a telemedicine
partnership with therapists at Sheppard Pratt, a psychiatric hospital
in Towson, Md.
Another such partnership – this time with Baltimore-based Kennedy
Krieger Institute – was forged in 2014 to provide diagnosis and
treatment of developmental disabilities, including autism spectrum disorder,
In 2015, AGH partnered with Berlin Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (BNRC)
to provide telemedicine care for patients discharged to BNRC for rehabilitation services.
In 2016, family physician Diane Ceruzzi, D.O., began seeing some of the
patients at her Pocomoke practice remotely, in between her wound consultations
at Atlantic General’s Wound Care Center, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
This year, telemedicine will expand care into the patient’s home
to provide daily remote monitoring of important measures, such as weight
and blood pressure for high-risk patients, and video consultations with
from home with physicians as necessary.
About Atlantic General Hospital
Atlantic General Hospital has been providing quality health care to the
residents of Worcester, Wicomico, Somerset (Md.) and Sussex (Del.) counties
since May, 1993. Built through the commitment and generosity of a dedicated
community, Atlantic General’s main facility in Berlin, Md., combines
the warmth of personalized attention with the reassurance of medical expertise
and advanced technology. The not-for-profit hospital provides quality
specialty care in oncology, medical and surgical weight loss, orthopedics,
and women’s diagnostics among other services. Atlantic General Health
System, its network of more than 40 primary care providers and specialists,
cares for residents and visitors throughout the region. For more information
about Atlantic General Hospital, visit
About the University of Maryland Medical Center
The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) is comprised of two hospitals
in Baltimore: an 800-bed teaching hospital – the flagship institution
of the 12-hospital University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) –
and a 200-bed community teaching hospital, UMMC Midtown Campus. UMMC is
a national and regional referral center for trauma, cancer care, neurocare,
cardiac care, diabetes and endocrinology, women’s and children’s
health, and has one of the largest solid organ transplant programs in
the country. All physicians on staff at the flagship hospital are faculty
physicians of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. At UMMC Midtown
Campus, faculty physicians work alongside community physicians to provide
patients with the highest quality care. UMMC Midtown Campus was founded
in 1881 and is located one mile away from the University Campus hospital.
For more information, visit