Telehealth is Working for Latinos in South Carolina


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“Telehealth” or “Telemedicine,” as it sometimes called, refers to traditional clinical diagnosis and monitoring that is delivered by technology.

It has proven to be an exciting breakthrough in medicine and has been used in wide array of situations to diagnose and manage symptoms, in education, and other related fields of health care, including: dentistry, counseling, physical and occupational therapy, home health, and chronic disease monitoring and management.

For those who are infirmed or in hard to reach rural areas, telehealth has proven to be great resource for both the patients and health care providers.

According to the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), can best be thought of as a way to increase the contact between a patient and their medical system.

Seizing upon this, Palmetto Health, a six-hospital system in Columbia, South Carolina (5.32% Latino population) has expanded its telehealth efforts in an effort to bring as much healthcare as possible to the state.

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“In healthcare, we need to recognize we can’t implement new technologies and tools like telehealth with the same mindset that we did with new service offerings in a fee-for-service world,” said Tripp Jennings, chief value and informatics officer at the Palmetto Health in an interview with Healthcare Dive. “You’ve got to start changing mindsets now because when you get to that magic tipping point from fee-for-service to value-based care, you better have solutions like telehealth which can significantly reduce your operating costs as well as grow your system to scale.”

The hospital system has utilized several strategies, including stroke care. Established in 2011, the stroke care telehealth program allows for more direct monitoring and connection with patients.

“When we’re looking at developing a strategic plan, a lot of it is around education,” said Palmetto Health telehealth manager Amelia Bischooff. “[The stroke care program] is very established and embedded into the service line. That’s the approach we want to take with other service lines. When you look at the whole spectrum of care, a lot of it can be done virtually.”

Read more about Palmetto’s telehealth initiatives here.

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