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Pediatric Telehealth Clinic Celebrates 100 Patients Served

Partners Look Forward to Bright Future of Telemedicine Technology

MACON, GA (Friday, May 27, 2016) - Children's Hospital, Atrium Health Navicent (CHNH) in Macon, Ga. and Tift Regional Medical Center (TRMC) in Tifton, Ga. are pleased to announce that 100 pediatric gastroenterology patients have now been treated through their pediatric telemedicine clinic.

On Wednesday, May 18, 2016, five-year-old Lily Dean of Cairo, Ga. became the 100th patient to be treated through the telemedicine clinic.

“We're thankful for this program. The clinic is very convenient because it is close to home. It helps a ton with gas cost and time spent in the car, which weighs on you, and you get the same great service as you do if you drive in to Macon,” said Samantha Dean, Lily's mother.

CHNH and TRMC announced their partnership with Georgia Partnership for Telehealth (GPT), a nonprofit organization promoting the establishment of telemedicine programs in communities throughout Georgia, in August 2015, seeing the first patient at the clinic on August 28, 2015.

“In just eight short months, we have seen firsthand the numerous benefits that telemedicine and technology offer to pediatric patients and their families. Through this partnership, Atrium Health Navicent, Tift Regional Health System and Georgia Partnership for Telehealth are able to serve patients in the right place - close to home - at the right time and for the right cost. Through telemedicine, patients may remain close to home for the healthcare services that they need while continuing to receive the high quality services and personalized care  they have enjoyed at Children's Hospital, Navicent Health,” said Dr. Ninfa M. Saunders, President and CEO of Atrium Health Navicent.

“I've been very encouraged by the eagerness of my patients to follow up by telemedicine. By cutting their expenses and time and resources, we see better compliance. The families are better able to keep their appointments and follow up. We are encouraged by the success of the program and my hope is to continue to expand the program so that we can reach out to more patients from distant, rural areas of the state,” said Dr. Noel Israel, pediatric gastroenterologist with Pediatric Gastroenterology, Atrium Health Navicent. 

The partnership benefits families living in rural areas of south Georgia who no longer need to travel to Macon for physician appointments with CHNH's numerous pediatric, pediatric gastroenterology and pediatric endocrinology specialists. Instead, the patients may travel the much shorter distance to Tifton and - through telemedicine - be seen by the Macon specialists at TRMC. By allowing patients to be treated closer to home, patients are not required to miss days of school, and parents or caregivers are not forced to miss a day of work while incurring travel expenses.

“This clinic has been a tremendous benefit for families in south Georgia, and we are pleased that our partnership provides this convenient, cost effective, high quality care for our region's pediatric patients. We are excited to reach the milestone of 100 patients served, and look forward to the future with expectation,” said William T. Richardson, CEO of TRMC.

Atrium Health Navicent and Tift Regional Health System are founding members of Stratus Healthcare, a non-equity collaborative of hospitals, health systems and providers dedicated to keeping healthcare local with the goal of improving outcomes, enhancing the patient experience and increasing efficiency as required by healthcare reform. TRMC also partners with GPT to provide telemedicine services for Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, the first college in the state to house a telemedicine clinic.

In the attached photo: Pediatric Gastroenterologist Dr. Noel Israel consults with patient Lily Dean and her mother, Samantha.