N.C. telehealth grant provides in-house monitoring

A North Carolina commission has granted $360,000 to a telehealth initiative in the northeastern portion of the state.

The North Carolina Health and Wellness Trust Fund Commission is funding a three-year program that will be administered through the Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center in Ahoskie, N.C. The program provides in-home monitoring and telehealth kiosks in churches, schools and senior centers.

The program launched in September with the placement of RemoteNurse telehealth systems in the homes of patients with cardiovascular disease and diabetes. WebVMC, a Conyers, Ga., company that offers virtual medical care solutions, developed the RemoteNurse system.

With RemoteNurse, a touch-screen monitor in the patient’s home is attached to devices such as blood pressure monitors and glucometers. The system sends patient information to caregivers and clinicians on a Web site via telephone lines, cellular or high-speed connections such as cable or DSL.

“Physicians, caregivers and family members review patient information from any Internet-enabled device…using a Web browser over a [Secure Sockets Layer] connection,” said Scott Sheppard, president and chief executive officer of WebVMC. SSL is an Internet security protocol.

This month, telehealth kiosks at local senior centers have been screening people for risk factors. The program will be extended to include a church and a middle school. Screening services are free of charge.

The program will be available to more than 40,000 residents in four counties: Bertie, Gates, Hertford and Northampton.

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