Modern healthcare innovations like telemedicine give doctors the opportunity to more easily reach underserved communities – whether that means urban areas with low-wage workers that can’t always afford to visit a physician, or rural areas with sparse health infrastructure.
The Arkansas-based ANGELS (Antenatal and Neonatal Guidelines, Education and Learning Systems) is a great example of telemedicine in action. The ANGELS mission is to ensure that every woman in Arkansas at risk of having a complicated pregnancy receives the best possible perinatal care.
We’ve been able to provide poor people living in rural Arkansas access to the kind of quality care that they never had before our telehealth program began.
Curtis Lowery, MD | Director of ANGELS
To help make this happen, ANGELS connects rural patients throughout the state with specialists at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in Little Rock, the state’s largest city. As a result, a wide range of physicians – including family practitioners, obstetricians, neonatologists and pediatricians – can apply their skillset beyond their immediate location, and do good in the larger community.
In an interview with the Association of American Medical Colleges, Curtis Lowery, MD – the director of ANGELS and chair and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UAMS – said: “Every person in Arkansas is within 30 miles of an ANGELS site. Through the ANGELS program, we’ve been able to provide poor people living in rural Arkansas access to the kind of quality care that they never had before our telehealth program began.”
This innovative healthcare includes a “telenursery” that allows a postpartum mother at one facility to stay connected with her baby if it’s been transported to another facility for treatment – and doctors making “virtual rounds” at the telenursery are available to answer questions and provide education and specialty consultations as needed.1
Whether they represent the future of healthcare or are simply part of larger healthcare trends, innovative programs like ANGELS open up exciting new avenues for outreach. Thanks to a little bit of technological assistance, even doctors who are working a full-time job have a convenient outlet for doing nonprofit work and engaging with communities both near and far.2