New technology allows rural areas to have medical care - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock


New technology allows rural areas to have medical care


LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Project CHART, Children's Healthcare Access in Rural Texas, is being launched by TTUHSC and is their newest network of health care for children in rural Texas.

A press conference Monday morning featured the first patient consult from Stratford, Texas to TTUHSC pediatricians. Project CHART will allow the rural communities to have access to a TTUHSC Pediatrician via telemedicine.

Telemedicine is the practice of medicine over distance with the use of telecommunications equipment. Early telemedicine may have been as simple as a doctor telephoning another doctor for advice and consultation. Today, telemedicine can bring a physician located hundreds of miles away into the actual examination room via a live interactive system.

Telemedicine electronically transports primary and specialty medical care into the most remote areas. Persons who live hours from advanced medical care, or even from basic medical services, can directly access high quality medical expertise without leaving their communities. 

Stratford is about 60 miles from Amarillo, which is where the demonstration during the press conference took place. Dumas has the closest hospital to Stratford with one physician. Residents have to travel to Amarillo for a specialist consult, or in an emergency situation, but during the winter months, the roads are a hazard due to bad weather and families are left without care.

TTUHSC's service region is comprised of 108 counties of which 98 are considered rural. Of those counties in West Texas:

  • 22 have no physician
  • 10 do not have a physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner
  • 21 do not have a community or clinic-based pharmacy
  • 32 do not have a hospital
  • 75 percent of the region is more than 90 miles from a comprehensive trauma hospital

Project CHART is funded by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and in the next 26 months will establish 29 additional sites to expand and study.

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