The SCTRC Outreach team traveled to Northeast Arkansas delivering telehealth training. The Northeast Arkansas visit included UAMS Chancellor, Dan Rahn, MD, local and state legislators, UAMS executive staff, and Arkansas e-Link personnel.
The team trained several health care facilities in the following counties: Crittenden County, Clay County, Randolph County, Lawrence County, Craighead County, Lee, and St. Francis. These counties combined will receive over $5,412,137.88 in funds for the data transmission lines, interactive video units and medical equipment as a part of $102 million grant awarded in August 2010 to UAMS and partner institutions through the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) Comprehensive Community Infrastructure grant.
The broadband connectivity will allow patients to consult in real time with medical specialists in other locations through interactive video so the patients can receive needed health care near their homes. Hometown medical providers will be able to collaborate with distant medical specialists to co-manage patient care without having to refer patients to distant hospitals or clinics. The higher education component of e-Link will facilitate resource sharing, collaboration and research opportunities at two-year and four-year colleges in Arkansas.
“They will see that they will have more expertise, receive more advanced care at the local level.” Another piece of equipment, Ret-cam, allows doctors to take images of the retina to determine if a baby is developing retinopathy prematurity. Douglas Seglem, MD, Director of St. Bernards Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, said this new technology helps them treat more premature babies.
Seglem adds, “Many of these babies born prematurely will stay in the hospital for weeks and weeks forcing the parents to be away from work, to be away from social support and their families.”
Chris Barber is the President and CEO of St. Bernards Health Care in Jonesboro, AR. and said this technology will be very beneficial to the Region 8 community. “For example, [during] the ice storm when folks couldn’t travel, we could dial in and have interaction,” said Barber.
The Outreach staff looks forward to continued work in this region and facilities interested in beginning telehealth programs.