Guest Post by:
Paul J. Hletko, M.D., FAAP
Georgetown Pediatric Center
The Road. It Can be Your Best Friend, or Your Worst Enemy.
That can depend on where you are and where you need to be. Now, we’re bridging the distances with a new kind of road with real-time connections thanks to the South Carolina Telehealth Alliance and MUSC Health. This collaboration is connecting the brightest minds across the state to offer South Carolinians access to medical specialists without having to leave the comfort of their hometowns.
As a rural pediatrician in Georgetown, I have become one of the earliest outpatient adopters of the telehealth-based pediatric specialty services offered by MUSC Children’s Hospital. My practice receives consultative services in sickle cell management, nutrition counseling, Parent-Child Interactive Therapy (PCIT), the Heart Health Program and telepsychiatry. With these electronic telehealth consults, I’m able to draw on a range of pediatric specialists any day of the week. Telehealth is sort of like my Linus blanket. It’s so reassuring to have pediatric sub-specialty talent readily available in real time in a rural community.
For example, when a young child throws a tantrum or behaves disruptively, I like to rely on MUSC Children’s Hospital developmental pediatricians to observe the encounter and, through Bluetooth-enabled earpiece, provide the parent real-time, PCIT-informed guidance about how to handle the situation. Faced with the pediatric obesity crisis, I like that my overweight or obese patients and their parents have access to MUSC Health nutritionists who work side-by-side with endocrinologists, pediatric pharmacists, and bariatric specialists. And I like it when I can call Dr. Julie Kanter, a pediatric hematologist at the MUSC Children’s Hospital, and have her on a teleconsult in real time to help me quickly treat a child in sickle cell crisis. These are examples of a move forward that will sweep the nation, and it’s nice to see MUSC Health at the vanguard of this movement.
You can learn more about how telehealth is improving health care access by visiting sctelehealth.org/muschealth. Also, hear more about how my practice, my patients and families are benefiting through telehealth services in this video.