Mobile clinic aims to help Miami kids
Children's Health Fund, Verizon Foundation kick off children's care initiativeMIAMI | July 29, 2013From the September 2013 print issue
About 15,000 children and family members across the country in need of healthcare will benefit from a partnership under which 15 of the Children's Health Fund's mobile medical clinics will be equipped with the latest health information technology from the Verizon Foundation.
Children’s Health Fund and Verizon Foundation kicked off the nationwide initiative in Miami July 25, with the first mobile telemedicine clinic. It connects children to the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Specialists. Children's Health Fund is a pediatric provider of mobile-based health care for homeless and low-income children and their families.
The Miami pediatric mobile medical clinic enables underserved local patients to consult with specialists from the University of Miami Health System, using UM's advanced telehealth program. The Verizon Foundation is providing the mobile clinic with a high-speed 4G LTE wireless broadband connection and upgraded telecommunications equipment that enable the clinic to provide telehealth services from any of its many delivery sites.
"Children's Health Fund has been operating mobile medical clinics for 26 years, but these sophisticated technology upgrades from Verizon are helping us to create the next generation of mobile care, with real time connectivity that enables doctors, patients and resources at our hospital affiliates like the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine to communicate like never before," Jeb Weisman, Children's Health Fund CIO, said in a news release. "The potential for better care is exciting as we work with Verizon to develop this telemedicine capacity here in Miami, and as we collaborate on other innovative programs across the country."
Anthony Llompart, Verizon Foundation Director of Healthcare Programs, told Healthcare IT News that he hopes "technology begins to transform care in an organized way. My dream is that everything comes together and I can see the result," he said. "It’s probably a long cycle, but…"
The biggest barrier to this type of work that Verizon has undertaken with partners, he said, is infrastructure. Without policy, IT and industry alignment, he figures it will be a bumpy road.
"Everybody is working on the idea of how do we leverage telemedicine," Llompart said. "Government regulation not aligned. In telemedicine, there is a bunch of old rules. Some states say you can do telemedicine, some you can’t."
Still Verizon and its partners are going forward.
In the coming months, the Verizon Foundation and Children's Health Fund will roll out additional health information technology projects to reach children and families in Dallas, Detroit, New York City, Phoenix and San Francisco. These projects include innovative uses of technology such as secure text messaging between providers and patients.