LANSING, MI — Sparrow has received a $586,000 federal grant to purchase telehealth equipment, primarily aimed at expanding patient access and leading-edge medicine for areas served by our Community Hospitals in Carson City, Charlotte, Ionia, and St. Johns.
Sparrow had the top application in Michigan and was among 62 healthcare facilities nationwide that received funding by the Federal Communications Commission in Round 2 of its COVID-19 Telehealth Program. The funding will support such things as video connections between Sparrow’s various sites, for example allowing a physician at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing to connect with a patient at Sparrow Ionia Hospital. It will also fund such efforts as a virtual stethoscope, permitting a physician at one site to listen to the heart of a patient at another site.
It is primarily aimed at rural areas and will allow patients to connect with their clinicians virtually without leaving their homes. That’s important during the pandemic when some people might find it more difficult to travel and to be around others in an office setting.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, access to health care has proven to be not only a national issue, but also a local issue, and it is imperative that every community is given the tools to access this care as safely and effectively as possible,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.
The boost in virtual care will better allow patients to stay local in line with Sparrow’s mission of keeping care close to home. For instance, instead of traveling from Sparrow Carson to Sparrow Hospital in Lansing for a consultation, they could do it virtually and save the trip.
Sparrow is currently averaging over 3,000 video visits a month, compared to 0 in February 2020 before the pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, patients could only access primary care by physicially going to an office. Now, they can have a telephone visit, a video visit, or submit an e-visit or message to be diagnosed and treated without leaving home.
Patients love the convenience of a virtual visit, it can speed up how soon they’re seen by a clinician, and it saves a spot for a more critically ill patient.
The front door for virtual health at Sparrow is through our MySparrow app at Sparrow.org/MySparrow.