The Office of Telemedicine at the University of Virginia Health System has received a $227,613 grant from HRSA to add three new telemedicine sites in far Southwest Virginia. These sites will provide screenings for breast and cervical cancer and also a broad range of specialty and sub specialty medical services. The new locations will increase the UVA telemedicine sites in far Southwest Virginia to 27. More than three dozen other sites in the state belong to the UVA telemedicine network.
The grant funding will purchase video conferencing equipment, computers, monitors, electronic stethoscopes, a standard documents camera and a high resolution camera for all three sites. The funding will also be used to purchase a video colposcope, an innovative telehealth tool used in the diagnosis of cervical cancer. The equipment will be linked to all Southwest Virginia Community Health System telemedicine facilities and should be in service by the end of November. In addition, the grant will enable UVA’s digital mammography van to provide screening.
According to Karen S. Rheuban, M.D., Medical Director, UVA Office of Telemedicine, “more than 300 live interactive patient consultations were provided in 35 clinical specialties in the region last year and we are gratified by the partnerships that have made this expansion possible.”
Representative Rick Boucher of Virginia noted “Southwest Virginia now has more than 50 broadband-connected telemedicine sites, more than any other Congressional district in the nation.”
In coming months UVA telemedicine will add several more sites in far Southwest Virginia to the network. The USDA funding will enable Johnston Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Abingdon and the Mountain Laurel Cancer Support and Resource Center in Norton to become telemedicine sites. By the end of 2008, the JMH and UVA Cancer Centers will begin conducting shared tumor boards via telemedicine links to evaluate patients and to discuss a multidisciplinary approach to treating these patients.
Another future site for telemedicine is the Appalachia University College of Pharmacy in Grundy, which has received an allocation from the Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission to create a telemedicine link with UVA.