Conway Medical Center receives $510,000 grant from The Duke Endowment to support telehealth medicine
Conway Medical Center (CMC) has received a $510,000 grant from The Duke Endowment to fund the creation of a Telehealth Team to oversee and schedule telehealth services for the hospital. Over the past few years, CMC has seen tremendous growth in telehealth and the number of departments in the hospital utilizing these services to reach and care for patients.
The Endowment grant will be used to promote the usage of telehealth both internally and externally, oversee the telehealth program, and schedule telehealth services for the hospital. Currently, CMC plans for the team to include a Nurse Practitioner/Telehealth Coordinator and a Patient Navigator. CMC received funding to assess telehealth strategies and services to improve health care in rural, medically underserved areas that have high prevalence of chronic disease and high rates of poverty.
In year one, we will examine data on patients applying for charity care and select approximately five hundred participants for a pilot project that will provide telehealth services to the rural underserved. CMC will offer telehealth services to these patients throughout the life of the grant to determine whether the utilization of telehealth improves health outcomes for the underserved. The pilot program will aim to teach these patients how to utilize telehealth and patient portal services, provide the selected patients with primary care or specialty care services via telehealth, and follow up with them to examine health outcomes. Having a team dedicated to growing and advancing telehealth services and utilization will ensure increases in the number of patients engaged and using services, the number of departments/department staff utilizing telehealth services and devices and will increase user and patient satisfaction overall.
“People living in rural communities often have limited access to health care, travel long distances to receive care, and may even delay care until they have a health emergency,” said Bret Barr, CMC President and CEO. “Rural areas are seeing higher infection and death rates related to COVID-19 due to several factors, including a much higher percentage of underlying conditions, difficulty accessing medical care, and lack of health insurance. Expanding our current telehealth program to extend services will decrease challenges and barriers to care for these vulnerable populations.”
For our patients, telehealth services have the potential to decrease travel time, reduce direct and indirect costs for the patient including lost work hours and increased costs associated with caregiver or childcare support, improve communication with providers, increase access to care and health education, increase self-awareness, and empower patients to manage their chronic conditions. Additionally, for the hospital, the expansion will likely decrease missed appointments, decrease wait times, decrease readmissions, improve medication adherence, improve quality and timeliness of patient care, increase physician recruitment and retention, and improve staffing issues.
“This is the sixth grant CMC has received from The Duke Endowment in the past five years totaling nearly four million dollars,” said Barr. “We are so grateful to the Endowment for its continued support of CMC in creating happier, healthier lives for our patients.”
“As we all have seen during the pandemic, telehealth services can provide a vital link to health care for all patients, but particularly so for those in rural and medically underserved areas,” said Lin Hollowell, director of the Endowment’s Health Care program area. “We are proud to support this innovative effort by Conway Medical Center to use telehealth to reach those most in need and improve health outcomes.”
For more information on how you can support Conway Medical Center and the CMC Foundation in our community healthcare efforts, please visit www.CMCFoundationSC.com.
Based in Charlotte and established in 1924 by industrialist and philanthropist James B. Duke, The Duke Endowment is a private foundation that strengthens communities in North Carolina and South Carolina by nurturing children, promoting health, educating minds and enriching spirits. Since its founding, it has distributed more than $4 billion in grants. The Endowment shares a name with Duke University and Duke Energy, but all are separate organizations.
Conway Medical Center is defined by its historical ability to consistently meet the healthcare needs of Horry County. The nonprofit medical center was established in 1928 as Horry County’s first hospital and has 210 inpatient beds, an Outpatient Diagnostic Center, and a multi-specialty group of 45 physician offices affiliated with the hospital located both on-site at the hospital and throughout Horry County. CMC’s outstanding medical staff includes over 300 physicians representing 35 specialties. Serving