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March 14, 2002

SIU Med School Awards Telehealth Pilot Grants

Eight faculty members at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine have been awarded a total of $220, 449 for pilot projects to study using telehealth technology in various clinical and educational applications in Springfield, Carbondale, Decatur and Quincy.

The projects are being funded this year through an internal grant program designed to stimulate telehealth activities within the medical school.  The programs are being funded by the School's federal telehealth grant.

“These pilots projects will explore using telehealth to provide direct patient care as well as teaching opportunities for the medical school’s faculty, who are both caregivers and educators,” said Deborah Seale, SIU’s executive director of telehealth networks and programs.

“Our faculty will study what telehealth services are appropriate, effective and safe for patients, medical residents and students.  We also will look at whether providing a service to a community, using cameras, monitors and related telecommunications equipment for the audio and visual communication links, is affordable, needed and practical,” she added.

The clinical applications include neurology, Alzheimer disease and other dementias, gynecologic oncology, cardiothoracic surgery and urology.  The teaching projects involve family practice and psychiatry.  A faculty subcommittee from the School’s Information Management Policy Committee reviewed the applications.  [See page 2 for the pilot projects.]

Part of the federal funds, which totaled $1.75 million, is being used to equip an expanded telemedicine network for the medical school.  A portion of the funds also will be awarded this fall to create Community Telehealth Partnerships, grants to rural providers for project start-up costs or to improve their health care information infrastructure.

Clinical projects –

“Investigation of Remote Exam for Neuromotor Disease” by Dr. R. Stanley Burns, professor of neurology and director of SIU’s Parkinson’s Center -- The project received $7,200 to assess the feasibility of conducting neurological exams by using two telehealth sites on campus in Springfield.  Eventual plans are to refine the exam so that it can be used at various remote sites in Illinois where consultative services with a neurologist are rare.

“Interactive Web-based Continuing Medical Education of Rural Primary Providers” by Gregory A. Kyrouac, assistant professor of neurology and SIU’s Alzheimer Center -- The project received $20,000 to develop interactive, web-based case vignettes for training primary care providers to more effectively differentiate between Alzheimer disease and various related disorders.  The result would be better patient diagnosis and treatment recommendations.

“A Feasibility Study of Telecolposcopy” by Dr. Marta Crispens, assistant professor of gynecologic oncology -- The project received $17,185 to see if remote evaluations could be done for abnormal Pap smears as well as children who are suspected victims of sexual abuse.  Primary care physicians do not have the expertise to perform colposcopy (visual evaluation of the genital tract under magnification).  The program could help rural, underserved patients.

“Cardiovascular Surgery-Family Practice Consultation” by Dr. Stephen R. Hazelrigg, professor and chief of cardiothoracic surgery -- This project received $33,720 to provide specialty consultation and postoperative follow-up care to patients using the School’s Family Practice Centers in Decatur and Quincy while also providing an opportunity for family practice residents and medical students at the site to expand their telehealth skills.

“Remote Treatment of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction” by Dr. Patrick McKenna, professor and chief of urology -- This project received $64,028 to provide remote treatment to correct pelvic floor dysfunction in children using muscle training to improve bowel and bladder incontinence.  This could replace a current protocol of 12 one-hour treatments in Springfield.

Education projects --

“Evaluating the Effectiveness of Utilizing Motion Video versus Still Image Telehealth Technology in a Rural Urgent Care Center” by Dr. Penelope K. Tippy, professor of family and community medicine (Carbondale) -- This project received $22,161 to study the feasibility and effectiveness of using still image in a ‘store-and-forward’ format versus live or ‘real time’ videoconferencing for faculty supervision of medical residents and physician assistants.

“Psychiatry Service Delivery to a Native American Population” by Sandra Vicari, assistant professor of psychiatry -- This project received $46,244 to develop culturally diverse training for medical residents in psychiatry while providing professional mental health consultation for a high-risk population.

 “An International Model of Family Practice Collaboration Using Basic Telehealth Technology” by Wayne Mathews, PA-C, assistant professor of family and community medicine (Decatur) -- This project received $9,957 for a community primary care project with family practice residents, who will provide support to a solo physician in Nigeria who needs assistance managing chronic disease and tracking HIV/AID incidence and prevalence.


thern Illinois University School of Medicine Office of Public Affairs News Releases P.O. Box 19621, Springfield IL 62794-9621, 217-545-2155