The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has launched a new digital health spine clinic. This program is designed to allow patients with spinal disorders and those who have received spinal treatments to visit a UAMS medical facility close to their home instead of traveling to Little Rock to visit a specialist.
Recently, the UAMS Institute for Digital Health & Innovation and the UAMS Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute partnered with T. Glenn Pait, M.D. to hold the first digital spine clinic consultations in the state. The consultations, held through a live video connection at UAMS Regional Campus, allow patients easier access to spinal care, according to Pait.
“The goal of the clinic is to help eliminate long distance travel for our patients,” Pait said in a statement. “The clinic can work with patients before surgery, follow-up visits after surgery, and other therapies that can assist with their spinal conditions.”
Primary care providers schedule patients for the consultations through referral.
“The patients are also given requirements before surgery for therapies to assist in their recovery and improve surgical outcomes via digital health with the assistance of our staff at the patient site.” Pait said. “This health service will be of community benefit by allowing a broader level of specialty spine care.”
Digital health is becoming more common, as it delivers health care through technology, such as smartphones, computers and other increasingly available technologies. The availability and access that digital health provides, according to a UAMS news release, will be instrumental in reducing health care costs.
The World Health Organization released the first guidelines for digital health programs in April. The organization listed 10 recommendations, which were targeted towards government and public health agencies.
WHO recommends using digital health interventions not as a “silver bullet” but as a tool that will drive change and add “value to the health workers and individuals using these technologies,” Bernardo Mariano, WHO Chief Information Officer, said.
“Harnessing the power of digital technologies is essential for achieving universal health coverage,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said in a statement. “Ultimately, digital technologies are not ends in themselves; they are vital tools to promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable.”