Megan Fink

Jan. 27, 2009

Telemedicine: remedy in today's economy?

Conference to explore health-care delivery in rural communities

CHARLESTON -- In a time where many South Carolina citizens have to choose between putting food on their family's table or gasoline in their vehicle, transportation to an out-of-town specialist may be pushed to the side. The South Carolina Area Health Education Consortium (SC AHEC), the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center and other state organizations are teaming up to launch a program that will utilize new technology and a high-speed Internet connection to provide specialty care to rural clinical offices and hospitals.

For example, small and mid-sized hospitals could link with the MUSC Internet-based consulting system or that of another large medical center for emergency evaluation and treatment of patients with signs of acute stroke, a medical emergency that kills thousands of South Carolinians each year. Once a patient is rushed to the hospital for stroke symptoms, emergency experts can collaborate with the MUSC Stroke Center team through the Web to discuss early treatment options that can improve the chances of a good outcome.

The "Telemedicine for South Carolina" conference scheduled for February 27 in Columbia will explore the use of telemedicine, what services are most needed in rural and underserved communities, how other states are benefiting from this technology, and the steps needed to implement telemedicine in South Carolina. Featured speakers include Ronald Weinstein, M.D., the founding director of the Arizona Telemedicine Program and Herman Spetzler, executive director of the Open Door Community Health Centers in California.

As a result of the generous support from The Duke Endowment, SC AHEC is able to offer this conference at no cost to attendees. It's open to the public, but space is limited at the South Carolina Hospital Association on Center Point Road. Those interested in attending must register before the conference. Visit for more information about the conference and how to register.

About MUSC

Founded in 1824 in Charleston, The Medical University of South Carolina is the oldest medical school in the South. Today, MUSC continues the tradition of excellence in education, research, and patient care. MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and residents, and has nearly 11,000 employees, including 1,500 faculty members. As the largest non-federal employer in Charleston, the university and its affiliates have collective annual budgets in excess of $1.6 billion. MUSC operates a 750-bed medical center, which includes a nationally recognized Children's Hospital and a leading Institute of Psychiatry. For more information on academic information or clinical services, visit or