Merrill Stoppelbein, MSN, NP, uses the new telemedicine space for a patient visit. Photo by Erin O. Smith.

Gift supports new telemedicine space

The 11th floor of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt opened in March, debuting a new space dedicated to the hospital’s state-of-the-art telemedicine technology. These facilities, funded by and named in honor of Laura Jo and Wayne Dugas, the Cal Turner Family Foundation and the James Stephen Turner Family Foundation, include a telemedicine-enabled conference room that converts into a classroom and clinician workstations. The space came online at a crucial time, as the COVID-19 pandemic hit soon after the opening.

Telemedicine has been a critical piece of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s response to COVID-19, with over 250 children’s visits a day across more than 20 specialties. The ability to bring expertise to patients remotely has been vital in mitigating the spread of the virus.

Children’s Hospital’s school-based telemedicine program in Allen County, Kentucky, also funded by the Turner and Dugas families, served as a foundation for this initiative, preparing the hospital to move rapidly to telemedicine appointments when the pandemic hit. This program connects school nurses within the county to nurse practitioners and pediatricians at Children’s Hospital, making care available to students who have certain conditions typically requiring a trip to a doctor’s office.

The vision of the Turner and Dugas families has long been helping underserved communities. This new technology furthers that mission by enhancing health care access to all patients, no matter where they live.

– by Paige Turner

Hope – Summer/Fall 2020

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