- Created on Friday, 10 June 2011 10:45
Telehealth is paving the way for greater access to healthcare in rural areas, and information about telehealth is in high demand. This demand has led to several national invitations for staff from the Union Hospital Richard G. Lugar for Rural Health to present our telehealth module.
"Telehealth has been wildly successful in the Wabash Valley area," said the Lugar Center's manager of telehealth, Stephanie Laws, RN, BSN. "It's improved the lives of our patients by letting them stay close to home but still receive specialty care that they previously either had to travel for or might have chosen not to receive treatment for at all."
Union Hospital and the Lugar Center founded the Wabash Valley Telehealth Network in 2010. The network is also comprised of Union Hospital Clinton, Clay City Center for Family Medicine, Hamilton Center (Terre Haute, Bloomfield, Sullivan and Linton), Sullivan County Community Hospital, Greene County General Hospital, St. Vincent Clay Hospital, Vermillion Parke Community Health Center (Clinton and Cayuga), Providence Medical Group Cardiology, UAP Clinic, Paris Community Hospital, Crawford Memorial Hospital, Shriners Hospital for Children (Cincinnati and St. Louis), and the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Terre Haute.
Current services available through our network include mental health, cardiology, child psychiatry, chronic disease management (diabetes, respiratory), RuralConsult.Com (teledermatology) and Shrine Burn follow-up care and treatment. Other services in development are pulmonology, outpatient cardiology, ICU Care and one-door STEMI care.
Over the past few months, Lugar Center staff have presented different aspects of our telehealth module at the American Telemedicine Associations Annual Conference in Florida, Society for Chest
Pain Centers Annual Conference in Florida, National Rural Health Association's Annual Conference in Texas, and the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), Office for the Advancement of Technology annual grantee meeting in Maryland. Laws is currently consulting with State Office of Rural Health in South Carolina regarding our network's success, and will be traveling to the Texas Critical Access Hospital Network in August. She has also been invited to go back to HRSA to participate on a small team that is evaluating telehealth policy at the federal level.
"It's an exciting time in medicine to have the technology to bridge the gap of accessibility, affordability and availability of healthcare services to people in rural areas," Laws said.
Photo: (L to R) Lugar Center Associate Director Hicham Rahmouni, Telehealth Project Associate Angela Powell and Telehealth Manager Stephanie Laws display a monitor and camera used in telemedicine
“Telemedicine has allowed our patients to receive the care they need right here in Sullivan, IN. In our current challenging economic times, the more dollars we are able to retain locally the better off our community will be.”
- Michelle Franklin, CEO