Konawa Community Health Center Mobile Clinic

Article excerpt

Journal Record Staff Reporter

Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. Thursday kicked off its second telemedicine project grant competition which will award $25,000 to the community with the best project proposal.

"There have been tremendous advances in telemedicine technology in recent years. Southwestern Bell Telephone wants to help increase the opportunities for Oklahomans to use these technologies and improve the level of medical care they receive," said Dave Lopez, Southwestern Bell Telephone president.

"With its one-of-a-kind mobile health clinic, last year's winner _ Konawa Community Health Center _ has demonstrated the incredible range of possibilities these advances present," Lopez said.

Telemedicine refers to the applications of telecommunications technology for remote medical evaluation, diagnosis and consultation. A wide range of medical services _ including primary care, heart monitoring and radiology services _ can be provided through this technology.

Last December, Konawa received the initial telemedicine grant from Southwestern Bell for its proposal to establish mobile clinics to serve several medically unserved communities in rural Oklahoma.

The $50,000 grant was only a "seed" to help Konawa in its telemedicine project. Total funding for the community's telemedicine project was $150,000.

This year's grant amount is less because the company will be awarding three types of grants in 1995 _ telemedicine, economic development and education. Last year, economic and telemedicine grants were awarded.

All telemedicine grant applicants must be located in a community serviced by Southwestern Bell, but the applicant may include surrounding non-Bell locations in its proposed service area.

The competition is open to any not-for-profit Oklahoma health care provider group or community that wants to launch or expand a telemedicine project, according to Southwestern Bell.

Deadline for the contest is Sept. 1. Judges for the contest will include Lopez, Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin and Dr. Larry Long, president of the Oklahoma Medical Association.

Konawa's mobile clinic, which is unlike any other in the world because of its telecommunications technology, was on hand at Thursday's press conference. Installation of telecommunication lines in the mobile clinic were completed last week.

The mobile clinic is staffed with physicians' assistants and nurse practitioners and serves nine communities in a five county area of rural southeast Oklahoma. Health care services are extended to nearly 20,000, using telecommunication technologies in Calvin, Maud, Bowlegs, Allen, Francis, Sasakwa, Earlsboro and Asher.

The clinic's goal in designing the mobile clinic was to utilize the most advanced system of telecommunication to serve their patients better, according to Howard Vincent, executive director of the Konawa Community Health Center. …

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