County telehealth station will now be free to the public
Milam County’s telehealth station will now be free to the public.
Texas A&M recently secured a grant that will pay for the use of the station for the foreseeable future. Therefore, anyone can use the station and see a medical provider without a charge for the service.
The station was developed and installed with the assistance of a grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield and our friends at Texas A&M.
The station is located at the Milam County Sheriff’s Office for security reasons and it is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The self-contained OnMed telemedicine station, located in the Milam County Sheriff’s Office in Cameron, provides patients with a live virtual consultation with a licensed clinician who can make a diagnosis and dispense prescription medications on the spot.
Features and services of the station include:
Measuring basic vitals like height, weight and blood pressure
Thermal imaging to provide body temperature and diagnose infection
Readings of respiration and blood oxygen saturation
On-site robotic dispensing of hundreds of common prescriptions
Option to securely transmit results to the patient’s primary care physician
Ability to provide paper prescriptions, e-prescriptions to preferred pharmacies, referrals and self-service lab kits for diagnostic testing
After every patient visit, the OnMed station is thoroughly cleaned using high-output ultraviolet surface and air sanitization to eliminate pathogens.
While the OnMed station addresses access to health care in rural areas, Alonzo says this game-changing innovation could also help with a health crisis such as the current novel coronavirus pandemic.
“Under the current circumstances, a telemedicine station like this one can provide access to care for follow-up and same-day appointments that are not urgent without exposing high-risk patients,” said the project’s principal investigator, Dr. Joy Alonzo, a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at the Texas A&M Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy. “In rural counties, it can provide access to care when primary care is not available without having patients drive 30 to 40 miles to an ER and unnecessarily tying up critical resources.”
OnMed provides users with more than just a teleconference with a doctor. When the patient enters the station, they receive a thermal scan to take their temperature, the floor serves as a scale, and blood pressure and heart rate devices are integrated into the seating area. A remote operated stethoscope is also available to assist a clinician in evaluating the heart and lungs.
This initiative is part of the Moonshot Research Project, a series of rural health innovations implemented by Texas A&M Health with support from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX). These innovations are designed to support collaborative care and healthy communities by targeting health care challenges facing rural and underserved populations in Texas. By exploring novel ways to solve rural health care problems, Texas A&M hopes to answer questions about how to deliver high quality care in rural areas that is financially sustainable and provides a template for best practices across rural America.
“Helping communities like Cameron address access to care during hours when clinics are not operational — and doing so in an affordable fashion — may provide answers for many small towns that cannot support 24/7 access to care in more traditional ways,” said Dr. Nancy Dickey, executive director of the Texas A&M Rural and Community Health Institute and director of the Moonshot Research Project.