MUSC named National Telehealth Center of Excellence

Updated: Oct. 17, 2017 at 9:21 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - MUSC's Center for Telehealth has been named a National Telehealth Center of Excellence.

Telehealth is something MUSC has been doing for a while.

It's a program where the school's doctors offer quality healthcare to people in rural parts of South Carolina.

At first glance, you might think of it as technology of the future.

"Telehealth is just using technology to exchange medical information for the benefit of the patient," said Shawn Valenta, director of Telehealth at MUSC.

Essentially, Telehealth gives MUSC doctors virtual access to patients from anywhere.

They accomplish that with software that uses video and audio.

"We can connect with patients, bringing specialists in areas that they previously weren't able to be," said Valenta. "We can use the technology to be able to exchange information with patients to be able to treat them more efficiently."

That even includes patients all the way out in Ridgeland, South Carolina.

"It's cold and flu season, and so this time of year everybody is coming in," said James Simmons, owner and physician at All Children's Pediatrics.

Simmons has been a doctor at All Children's Pediatrics for more than 15 years.

Being a doctor in a more rural part of South Carolina comes with a few challenges, especially when Simmons recommends seeing a specialist at MUSC.

"Patients are having difficulty traveling the distance," said Simmons. "Their compliance is down because they're not making the appointment."

But thankfully, MUSC is making that struggle a little easier.

"It definitely improves the quality of care for patients," said Simmons.

That quality care is one that Simmons says will be a lot more common soon.

"It's the future of medicine, honestly. Within the next 10 to 15 years, 20% of medicine will be done this way. And so we know that it's definitely where things are going," said Simmons.

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