Pediatric Mobile Clinic Expands Telemedicine Services with Grant
The University of Miami Pediatric Mobile Clinic, which provides medical care to uninsured children in need, has been awarded a $105,000 grant from the Florida Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (FAFCC) via the Florida Department of Health. The grant will be used to hire additional staff, buy new technology and expand the clinic’s telemedicine offerings.
“Free and charitable clinics provide a much needed safety net for uninsured residents who otherwise might not be able to afford expensive medical and dental treatments,’’ FAFCC Executive Director Mark Cruise said. “Our new grant program, made possible by the Florida Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott, makes it possible for these organizations to build capacity to be able to reach even more people who need services.”
To help grow the Pediatric Mobile Clinic’s capacity, telehealth services will be expanded by incorporating store and forward consults into the clinic’s programming. Store and forward telemedicine allows onsite physicians to upload patient information, including images, documents and videos, to a secure web portal where an offsite specialist can later download the information and make diagnoses or treatment recommendations.
In many instances the patients seen by the Pediatric Mobile Clinic have chronic illnesses that need specialized medical attention. With the use of store and forward telemedicine patient care will be increased and expedited.
“The store and forward consults allow a greater number of patients with specific, non-acute ailments to be treated,” said Lisa Gwynn, D.O., M.B.A, Director of the Pediatric Mobile Clinic. “One of our biggest challenges has been coordinating live meetings with patients and specialists. This new technology will help us overcome that barrier.”
One of many areas that Gwynn expects store and forward telemedicine will help is dermatology. “A patient comes to us with a rash or mole. We take a picture, upload it to the website and when the dermatologist later downloads the patient’s chart, he or she can make a diagnosis from the convenience of their desktop,” she said.
In addition to dermatology, live interactive videoconferencing consultations in nutrition and cardiology take place in the mobile clinic. The new funding will enable the clinic to add telemedicine services in endocrinology.
“With store and forward technology, the patient can receive timely specialty care without traveling beyond their primary care physician’s office,” said Anne Burdick, M.D., M.P.H., Associate Dean for TeleHealth and Clinical Outreach. “This is especially significant for the population being served by the Pediatric Mobile Clinic who due to their insurance status and transportation and financial limitations might not have the ability to seek out the care of a specialist.”
Established in 1992, the Pediatric Mobile Clinic offers well visits, sports physicals, immunizations, management of chronic conditions, urgent care, mental health and social work.