Patients and their families are the focus of everything we do, and our employees are committed to healing compassionately as demonstrated in these initiatives launched this past fiscal year.
Mobile Health Clinic on the Move
GHS is making care more accessible and convenient in communities across Greenville County with a mobile health clinic that is the first of its kind in the Upstate. In February, the GHS Neighborhood Health Partners Mobile Health Clinic began making regular visits to the Belmont, Berea, Gantt and Parker communities, as well as neighborhoods in the city of Greenville. These underserved areas have the highest rates of emergency medical service use.
The mobile clinic, a 40-foot customized RV with three exam rooms, has reduced ER use through patient education as well by diagnosing and treating both acute and chronic illnesses. Spanish-speaking staff members also are on board.
GHS’ total health commitment is to provide the right care at the right time in the right place—especially primary care. A few years ago, the “right place” meant MD360® or a doctor’s office. Now, that definition has expanded to include a mobile health clinic or middle schools (see next article) and on-site clinics in upstate workplaces.
As of April 4, the right place may be in the palm of your hand. That’s when GHS launched SmartExam, which connects patients with a GHS care provider online. It is fast, secure and convenient.
For just a $20 fee, patients enter their symptoms into SmartExam. A provider reviews patients’ symptoms and contacts them by phone within one hour. Patients receive a diagnosis and treatment plan by email; prescriptions are sent electronically to the pharmacy of their choice.
Common conditions treated include bladder infections, colds, allergies or chest infections, sore throat and ear pain. A parent also can use SmartExam for children, and a pediatric provider will review their symptoms.
Patients are not charged if a diagnosis cannot be made. SmartExam is available to the public 24 hours a day, with responses provided 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily.
To learn more or register, visit www.ghs.org/smartexam.
School-based Health Centers Make the Grade
GHS Children’s Hospital’s school-based health centers are a key component of the system’s new Bradshaw Institute for Community Child Health & Advocacy. They increase access to health care for middle school students and help sick children get on the path to healing more quickly. Centers are located at five schools in high-risk communities chosen by United Way of Greenville as part of an effort to reduce absenteeism and keep kids on track to graduate.
Chronic absenteeism is a major factor in students falling behind academically; students in high-poverty areas often miss a lot of school because of health issues. Typically, a 15-30 minute doctor visit offsite for something like a fever or sore throat means a half-day away from school.
“The majority of the kids we’ve seen, we sent back to class,” said Kerry Sease, MD, MPH, senior medical director for Academics and the Bradshaw Institute’s medical director. “That’s our goal: getting kids back in their seats for learning. We’re increasing access to care and keeping parents and kids where they belong—at work and at school.”
The centers operate a day or two a week. A team including a GHS nurse practitioner, registered nurse and special project coordinator rotates among these schools. In addition to primary care, the team can help students manage chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes as well as connect them with community health services like mental health and dental care.
Each school also has a telemedicine cart. When the clinic is not open, the school nurse can contact the nurse practitioner or Dr. Sease about a concern. The provider then can assess the student from a remote site and advise the school nurse on next steps.