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
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
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
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
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. …