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Telemedicine Grant from Verizon Brings UVA Medical Care to Rural Virginians

by Employee Emeritus ‎08-09-2010 05:04 PM - edited ‎08-10-2010 12:13 PM

UVA Remote Area Medical Clinic

 On July 23-24 the University of Virginia held a clinic at which more than 3,000 uninsured patients were seen.  That alone is impressive, but perhaps more impressive, is that the clinic was held in Wise, a remote community in southwest Virginia where access to health care is a specific challenge for many residents.


Of the 3,000 patients who saw medical practitioners that day, more than 1,000 were screened, treated and referred for follow-up care at UVA medical facilities. 


How was Verizon involved? 


Through a grant from the Verizon Foundation to the University of Virginia Office of Telemedicine, we supported the integration of telemedicine and the capturing of medical data into electronic medical records at the two-day event. 


Specifically, the grant:


  • Established a wireless network at the Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinic to facilitate patient registration, and the capturing and dissemination of medical information and patient data for every patient seen by the practitioners;
  • Allowed for more than 1,200 patients to receive services; and
  • Referred patients to local health departments, free clinics and federally qualified health centers to provide ongoing care and specialty care supported by telemedicine technologies.

For the next 12 months the RAM clinic will continue to provide primary and specialty care services, screenings (mammography, cervical cancer screening, colon cancer screening, screening for diabetic retinopathy), and specialty consultations and referrals through telemedicine links.


As you can see from the accompanying photos, patients were seen in a number of often very remote locations, including barns, mobile vans and in some cases at the local health department.  Nonetheless, the RAM clinic provided laboratory, radiology and pharmacy services on site.   Every patient seen by the UVA team was registered as a UVA patient and an electronic medical record was created to facilitate sustainable care.  Every patient was referred to a "medical home" in the region - usually a free clinic, a health department site or a federally qualified health center with telemedicine functionality to ensure follow-up care.


Through electronic medical records, follow-up care is seamlessly integrated into a comprehensive system of care. This affords practitioners the opportunity to both provide timely follow up care immediately after the clinic and also to maintain a repository of information should the patient later be treated at the UVA Medical Center in Charlottesville.  The Verizon Foundation grant also ensures referrals and follow-up care for those patients seen at the RAM clinic and other telemedicine sites in the region.


The southwest Virginia region reports the highest number of uninsured patients, the poorest health status, the lowest educational attainment and the greatest rates of poverty in the Commonwealth.  This "perfect storm" of poverty, lack of education, lack of access to services and uninsured status has resulted in the poorest health status of any region in the state.  The Verizon Foundation is proud to partner with UVA’s Office of Telemedicine and the southwest Virginia community to bring innovative healthcare solutions to those in need.


UVA Collage


Pictured above at the event (clockwise from top left): Associate VP - Hospital and Clinic Operations, Bo Cofield interviews a patient; UVA Medical students treating a patient; Child looks on as her mother is examined; and Heather Saxby, a nursing student, examines a patient.

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