John Lewis

Statewide Telehealth Summit Spotlights South Carolina's Success

By John Lewis

Telehealth Summit of South Carolina

Each year, Palmetto Care Connections hosts an Annual Telehealth Summit of South Carolina.

2018 marks the sixth annual summit. The summit brings together providers, payers, and policy makers. During the summit, major players in healthcare recognize wins and discuss telehealth on both a national and local level.

Electronic Medical Records Critical for Telehealth

By John Lewis

Michael Haschker leads discussion at the sixth annual Telehealth Summit of South Carolina in Columbia.

As technology changes the way patients and health care providers see each other, it’s also changing how our doctors document our health records.

More practices in South Carolina are using telehealth equipment, allowing clinicians to connect to patients through video. The South Carolina Telehealth Alliance’s Michael Haschker says integrating an electronic medical records system into that equipment is crucial for the success of any telehealth program.

Technology Brings Doctors Directly to Nursing Home Residents

By John Lewis

Eleanor Grayson is examined with a telehealth machine in her home at The Village at Summerville.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 16,000 South Carolinians lived in nursing homes in 2015.

Some nursing home residents can still be mostly independent, while others require constant care. Dr. Russ Blackwelder, the associate medical director at The Village at Summerville, says his patients will do better if they stay in their home environment and avoid the hospital whenever they can.

But the doctor can’t be at the facility 24/7, and for years that meant automatic hospital trips for patients that needed to be seen.

Telehealth Keeps Young Player on the Soccer Field

By John Lewis

12-year-old Justin Ruiz makes a save during soccer practice. Ruiz suffers from sickle cell disease.

Sickle cell disease is a blood disease that can affect every organ in the body. It's an inherited and incurable condition, but it can be treated and managed. Sickle cell patients, like 12-year-old Justin Ruiz of Hilton Head Island, also have an increased risk of stroke. Justin needs annual tests to assess his stroke risk. However, one of his parents had to miss a full day of work, and he would miss a full day of school and soccer practice, to get the test done in Charleston at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). 

Hospital E-Visits Spike During Flu Season

By John Lewis

Man laying his head on his desk.

This flu season has been more aggressive than usual. DHEC says more than 3,400 people have been hospitalized with the flu so far this season, and at least 128 people in South Carolina have died, including a child. Health officials are urging everyone older than 6 months to get vaccinated if they haven’t done so, and to see a doctor if you have flu-like symptoms.

S.C. Providers Meet to Teach and Learn Opioid Treatment Lessons

By John Lewis

Dr. Kelly Barth addressing a group of addiction specialists in Florence, South Carolina.

In the midst of a nationwide opioid epidemic, healthcare providers and addiction specialists in South Carolina are coming together to address the crisis head-on. The state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) says 550 South Carolinians died of an overdose in 2016, up nearly 20 percent over two years. More than 5,700 patients were discharged from South Carolina emergency rooms relating to opioid abuse in 2015, according to the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS).

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