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.
New Device for Iliac Aneurysms
GHS is one of a handful of hospitals in the state using a new device that treats iliac aneurysms in the pelvic or leg region. The device, called GORE® EXCLUDER® iliac branch endoprosthesis, allows doctors to preserve blood flow to iliac arteries while closing off flow to the aneurysm, resulting in better outcomes and quality of life for patients.
Delivery Buddy Debuts
Soon-to-be moms in Laurens and Pickens Counties now can enjoy the peace of mind offered by GHS Children’s Hospital’s telehealth program for newborns called Delivery Buddy. In the unlikely event their baby experiences complications during or just after delivery, a neonatologist or neonatal nurse practitioner from GHS can log in to Delivery Buddy immediately through the system’s secure network.
The specialist will complete an assessment of the baby with the help of Delivery Buddy and on-site nurses and doctors. This program lets the specialist take part in the baby’s care right away by making recommendations as if at the bedside. Medical teams on each side of the screen can hear and see the newborn and interact with the family.
This telehealth program is the first of its kind in the Southeast for neonatal patients. It is offered at Laurens County Memorial Hospital and Baptist Easley (of which GHS is half owner).
GHS Expands Donor-match Options
GHS has expanded its McCrary Blood and Marrow Transplant Unit to include donor-match options for unrelated donors or half-matched donors. This expansion means that more people can provide the potentially life-saving cells patients with cancer need.
The unit aims to keep patients close to home while they go through what can sometimes be very invasive, intense and demanding treatments. Studies show that having a strong support system and being in familiar places can play a significant role in a patient’s response to treatment.
Such was the case for Jeannine Pampalone. In October 2015, the 36-year-old became GHS’ first stem cell transplant recipient using a half-matched donor. Today, Pampalone glows with good health and her blood-related cancer has not recurred.
To learn more about the unit, visit ghs.org/news or https://www.ghs.org/healthcenter/ghs-expanded-blood-and-marrow-transplant-program-offers-first-in-upstate-transplant-options/. Read Pampalone’s story in the Fall 2016 Issue of Inside Health.
Shhh, It’s Quiet Time
On April 19, Greenville Memorial Hospital launched Quiet Time from 2-3 p.m. and midnight-4 a.m. on floor units 2-6. During this time, staff members will focus on minimizing noise and interruptions and, where possible, dimming the lights.
Quiet Time honors patients’ need for rest and supports a healing environment. Quiet environments are proven to reduce anxiety and stress, enhance pain management, and provide support and comfort for patients and their families. They also lessen staff stress, improve staff concentration, and decrease nursing and medical errors.
Patient care will not be interrupted during Quiet Time. Admissions and discharges will continue, and therapy and tests will be performed. Also, guests can still visit.
Veterans Affairs Grant
Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital has received an $80,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This grant will help veterans participate in the hospital¹s various recreational therapy activities and support a recreational therapist assigned to patients who are veterans.
2016 Annual Report Table of Contents