Telehealth receives national recognition
The video will open the 2013 Catholic Health Assembly, the association’s national convention, this June in Anaheim, California.
CHA Vice President of Communications and Marketing, Ed Giganti explained, “We’ve selected three stories [from our network of providers] that exemplify our mission of ministering to the health of others.”
CHA membership includes 48 Catholic health systems with approximately 600 hospitals, including SSM Health Care, the parent health system that includes St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City. In addition to the highlight on SMC’s telehealth services, CHA is featuring a program in Columbia, South Carolina that reconnects non-custodial fathers with their children, and a program in Fullerton, California that built and operates a primary care clinic as an integral part of a neighborhood revitalization project.
Giganti explained SMC and St. Anthony’s partnership for telehealth services is an innovative approach to delivering specialty care to remote, rural areas. “This is an excellent example of using current technology to meet the needs of the people and communities served by St. Anthony,” continued Giganti.
Giganti was accompanied by a two-person film crew, Chris Ryan and Lindsey Cranmer with Once Films. The crew spent one day in Oklahoma City at the St. Anthony site and the next day in Alva.
While in Alva, the crew shot footage of the community, hospital, and conducted two interviews. In her interview, Regina Wilson, SMC Director of Nurses explained that, “Without this technology and St. Anthony’s partnership in Alva, many people simply would not seek the specialty care they need.”
Wilson manages the telehealth services for SMC and was recently elected to the Telehealth Alliance of Oklahoma. “Telemedicine [telehealth] ensures that the people in our community and other rural areas can have easy access to vital specialty services such as cardiology, dermatology, and much more,” Wilson further explained.
This is apparent in the experiences of SMC patient, R.J. Lieurance. For nearly thirty years, Lieurance battled psoriasis, an immune system disorder that often presents as an irritating, red, scaly skin condition.
In his interview with Once Films, Lieurance said the condition made him very self conscious and uncomfortable; “People would look at me like I was contagious, but I wasn’t. It was horrible.” The condition was becoming worse and he was very concerned.
Lieurance was referred to the tele-dermatology services at SMC by his primary care physician. “They were all wonderful,” beamed Lieurance. In the interview, he described his experience of coming to the hospital, seeing Dr. Hayes through the television, the doctor seeing him and his psoriasis with the state-of-the-art cameras, and SMC nurses helping him to understand how the cameras worked to get the images to the doctor.
Without ever having to leave Alva, Lieurance was seen and treated by Dr. Hayes through telehealth and his thirty-year battle with the condition is all but over after two weeks of treatment.
“He is a brand new man,” remarked Wilson; “I am so glad we were able to help him get his health and his spirit back.”
Lieurance works at Value Added Products in Alva, rides a bicycle to and from work, and has no other means of making appointments to go to out-of-town specialists. “I never could have had this taken care of if I would have had to leave Alva,” he further stated.
“I’m telling everyone I see, ‘if you need something taken care of, go out to the hospital; they sure helped me out,’” Lieurance exclaimed.
SMC and St. Anthony Hospital began offering telehealth services in 2013. Current specialties include cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology, and dietary counseling. For more information, contact Regina Wilson at 580.430.3311.