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Objective 1: Establish Statewide Collaboration to Enhance the Impact of Telehealth Initiatives

What

Telehealth has already proven good for South Carolina, and we are only beginning to tap its vast potential as it not only extends the reach of health care but also makes it more efficient.  New technologies often raise the cost of health care, but this is no longer acceptable today.  Telehealth is unique in that, when applied wisely, it has the ability to not only improve care but to lower cost as well.  Yet, if we are to truly move the needle on health outcomes, these innovations must be applied collaboratively and must reach the most rural corners of South Carolina.  

MUSC has established a Center for Telehealth whose mission is to support, coordinate, and maintain high-quality telehealth initiatives across the state.  The Center will establish a venue for collaboration among health care stakeholders in our state by partnering with Palmetto Care Connections, a working group charged with using telehealth to improve health care access across South Carolina. It will also collaborate with the Palmetto State Provider Network, a neutral entity that has built an enhanced, high-speed broadband network dedicated solely to health care.

Why

The rapid evolution of telehealth technology is a benefit to the health care system in our state but realizing the potential benefits for our state will require an unprecedented level of partnership and collaboration.  Through coordination of services it is now possible for all citizens of South Carolina to receive high-quality health care anywhere in the state.  This collaborative will allow for in-state providers to remain competitive, serve as the stewards of quality, and move towards equality in care distribution for all South Carolinians.

How State-Appropriated Funds Will Be Utilized

  • Operational funding is being provided for the Center for Telehealth and Palmetto Care Connections.
  • Funding will be applied directly to the collaborative objectives, including
    • A subsidy for technological costs for telestroke expansion (in-state providers only)
    • A subsidy applied through Palmetto State Providers Network to improve internet connectivity to small, rural clinical sites wishing to participate in telehealth

What to Expect and What Will Be Measured

increaseIn percentage of South Carolinians within a 1-hour drive from a stroke center as defined by the American Heart Association (acute stroke­– ready hospitals and primary stroke centers)

increaseIn specialty services delivered to rural South Carolina counties