leveraging cost-effective technology to improve access to quality tertiary health care
MUSC Virtual Tele Consult Clinic
VTCC is funded by a grant from the Duke Endowment to establish a telemedicine program to support providers in rural underserved communities in SC.
South Carolina is a very rural state and many citizens live far away from specialty health care providers who can assist a rural physician with a complicated case. For example, patients who have received an organ transplant or after major surgery often must travel over 100 miles just to receive follow-up care. This can become even more problematic if the patient has difficulty traveling due to advanced age, limited transportation resources or caregiver time constraints. Available research suggests that such vulnerable populations are more likely to have fewer health care choices offered or exercised, are less likely to see a specialist, and experience worse healthcare outcomes.
With funding from The Duke Endowment, the Virtual Tele Consult Clinic (VTCC) is an innovative approach to providing access to specialty care using telemedicine. This interdisciplinary, collaborative approach combines recent advances in technology with a broad coalition of specialists based at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). Using a hub and spoke model, prospective patients in locations within the Lowcountry and Pee Dee regions of South Carolina remote to MUSC would be afforded the opportunity to have consultation with MUSC specialists via an affordable, web-based telemedicine platform utilizing readily available components such as laptop/desktop computers with integrated cameras and audio, broadband internet access and existing telephone lines.