To make it easier for residents of Southside Virginia and other rural localities to receive specialty care not readily available where they live, a new state grant will help patients and health care workers access specialists through telemedicine.
A $270,000 grant from the Virginia Health Workforce Development Initiative will establish the Southside Telehealth Training Academy and Resource Center in Martinsville, which will be operated by New College Institute and the University of Virginia Center for Telehealth at the U.Va. Health System.
“Training health care workers to use telehealth and patient monitoring technologies will aid them in providing high-quality care and service to their patients,” said Dr. Karen Rheuban, director of the U.Va. Center for Telehealth.
Beginning in late spring, the center will begin training health care workers in the West Piedmont Health District of Martinsville and the counties of Franklin, Henry and Patrick – as well as health care workers across Virginia – in the use of telemedicine technology. Over the program’s first 18 months, the academy plans to train 250 health care workers.
“This center has the potential to not only make it easier for patients in Southside Virginia to access the health care they need, but also to give our residents valuable job skills,” said William Wampler, executive director of New College Institute.
Each year, telemedicine uses secure video links to help thousands of Virginians access specialty care not available in their home communities. U.Va.’s network of more than 85 telemedicine locations enables patients to access U.Va. physicians in more than 40 specialties without traveling to Charlottesville.