There is a brand-new medical service in Pocahontas County, which allows patients to be examined and treated by a specialist physician who is located at Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC) without having to leave Pocahontas County, much less have to travel to Charleston.
To learn more about this, I spoke with Abby McClanahan, a CAMC Registered Nurse, who lives here in the county and works for the new CAMC Telemedicine Center located in Pocahontas Memorial Hospital’s Pulmonology Clinic.
“I work with CAMC’s Telemedicine I Pocahontas,” McClanahan said. “CAMC’s Telemedicine Center here in Pocahontas, which allows residents in the surrounding areas to see their specialists closer to home. With this resource, they don’t have to travel to Charleston, it allows us to deliver care so they can see their specialist here in our center. We can do vital signs; lab work; imaging. They get the same kind of care they would receive in Charleston, but without the long drive, without having to take as much time off from work.
“We offer more than 40 specialties for providers and their patients. They are able to see their specialist through our telemedicine with a secure video log. It is nice too bring care close to home.”
Can specialists who are not associated with CAMC be seen through this service?
“These are providers through CAMC,” replied McClanahan. “And we have physicians that participate with this. We also have nurse practitioners and physician assistants who can see the patients, too.”
Would a patient need a referral from their primary care doctor to use your center?
“Their doctor or nurse practitioner will place a referral, and then send that to me by fax, or they can call our center here,” McClanahan said. “We have the phone and fax information available on our website. That is CAMC.org/telemedicine
“At that site, they can see all the current telemedicine centers that we have, as well as contact information with phone, fax and map and directions. Currently we have CAMC Telemedicine in Pocahontas. We also have facilities in Lewisburg, and in Jackson County in Ripley. There’s one in Summersville and Princeton, as well.”
Let’s assume I was a patient of a specialist at CAMC that was referred to you. Can you walk me through what would happen?
“Upon getting your referral, I would call you on the phone to do a pre-planning worksheet, or intake form, where we talk to you about your symptoms, the reason for the referral, your medications, your history, any surgeries you’ve had, pre-existing conditions, or anything like that,” McClanahan said. “I would ask you, of course, if you are interested in the referral, making sure you do want to come, making sure you knew your provider placed the referral and why. We always want to have the patients informed and keep them involved in their care and explain the process. We pick a date and time that works for the patient, as well the provider, so they can be seen when it is convenient for them. And on the day of your appointment, you show up here. We get you registered and check you in; go through all your insurance information with you; and we would have you sign some consent forms; and, go through a full set of vital signs – check your blood pressure and heart rate and all those things; and then, depending on your specialist, if you need EKGs or pictures of your heart, X-rays, things like that, we can get that done. And then we have you connect with our Camera Doc connecting camera two. So, you can see your provider, and they can see you in real time. We are able to do heart signs, breath sounds, check your pulse, and other assessments.”
You showed me the room; it is almost like the exam room at the provider’s office’
“Right, it does have a lot of the same things,” McClanahan said. “Anything that you would need that we don’t have physically here, we could send you to Pocahontas Memorial Hospital next door for that.”
You’re a registered nurse and you would be with the patient, so if the doctor asks for something to be done could you take care of it?
“The whole time, we’re with them, from start to finish. We check the patients in, remain for the duration of the appointment, help them check out, and on their way.”
Is there anything else you would like to add?
“It’s a newer program,” McClanahan said. “It’s definitely a newer location here, and we are excited for all we can offer Pocahontas. Some big ones that we have a lot of patients for are: Cardiology; we do a lot of Endocrinology and Diabetes specialty; Gastroenterology; we do some weight loss clinics; Neurology; and, of course, we are in the Pulmonology Building, so a lot of patients will be seen through Pulmonology. Rheumatology is another big one that we do, as well. We have 46 – I believe that was the last count – specialties we can do here.”
The Telemedicine Center at PMH opened January 23.
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