September 4, 2009

TV crew to film at VUMC

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True Entertainment’s Michael Kovnat, left, interviews Jeff Guy, M.D., for an upcoming series on The Learning Channel. (photo by Joe Howell)

TV crew to film at VUMC

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is hosting a television production crew from The Learning Channel (TLC) during September to film three one-hour pilot episodes of a new, HIPAA-compliant version of one of channel's most popular programs, “Trauma: Life in the ER.”

Currently, these episodes are scheduled to air on TLC during January 2010. The new series, which has not yet been officially named but has the working title “Life in the E.R.,” will be available in more than 98 million U.S. households and in nearly 8 million homes in Canada.

A 12-member production crew from True Entertainment Media has been contracted by TLC to produce the series. The crew is scheduled to be at VUMC from Sept. 8 through Oct. 2, filming doctors, nurses and adult patients whose care pathway originates within the adult Emergency Department. Filming will occur in other areas of Vanderbilt University Hospital, as some patients' stories may be followed to inpatient units.

“I am delighted TLC is returning to Vanderbilt's ED and Trauma Center,” said Corey Slovis, M.D., chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine.

“We provide some of the best care in the nation, and TLC helps us showcase it while at the same time protecting patient privacy. I hope the show again provides a candid look at how hard our doctors, nurses and staff work to help patients and families.”

John Morris, M.D., director of the Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care, said the show would be another opportunity to teach the public about trauma and how it is a preventable disease.

“Trauma is a disease. It is not random or accidental; it is predictable. Consequentially, from a public health perspective, we can define high-risk groups and interventions to improve outcome. While the disease trauma is dramatic for the public, for the professionals the excitement of the disease resides at the interface between medicine and science,” Morris said.

John Howser, deputy director for the Office of News and Public Affairs, has worked with True Entertainment Media, the University's Office of General Counsel, the Department of Emergency Medicine, the Division of Trauma and others in VUMC administration to develop a HIPAA-compliant production process.

“No patient will be filmed without his or her full cooperation to participate in this project and their written authorization. We have carefully defined a process that should result in the ability to produce compelling TV while at the same time respecting patients' privacy.”

Per True Entertainment's production agreement with TLC, anyone — including all VUMC faculty and staff — who appears in the series must sign an appearance consent release.