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Nurse practitioner Heather Mangum, telehealthONE's chief nursing officer talks via computer with patient technician Jae Erickson at the telehealthONE Canton clinic.

Canton drugstore — the state’s oldest — is pioneer in walk-in video health care clinics

Patient technician Jae Erickson at the telehealthONE Canton clinic.

Patient technician Jae Erickson at the telehealthONE Canton clinic.

Mississippi’s oldest drug store is the launching pad for one of the state’s newest healthcare endeavors.

Mosby’s Drug Store, founded in Canton by three Mosby brothers in 1843, is the first in a string of walk-in telehealth clinics that telehealthONE will put in rural parts of Mississippi in the coming months and years.

It’s a new avenue for Mississippi-based telehealthONE but hardly its first telemedicine endeavor, said CEO David L. Powe, who became one of the principals of telehealthONE in 2013 after a decade as University of Mississippi Medical Center’s chief administrative officer.

The office that opened a couple of weeks ago inside Mosby’s Drugs at 1301 E. Peace St. is a conventional-style clinic with thermometers, blood pressure machines and diagnostic and lab equipment. The departure from conventional comes with the video-screen hookup the technician and patient have with a remotely stationed nurse practitioner or, in some instances, a physician. From there, the technician’s report goes to the care provider, who with information in hand can begin talking to the patient and making the health assessment.

The two-way linkup “is the connecting bridge” to rural Mississippi’s vastly underserved rural residents, said Heather Mangum, a nurse practitioner and telehealthONE’s chief nursing officer.

That extended reach is critical, Mangum said, in a state with fewer than 180 physicians for every 100,000 people, a ratio deemed the lowest in the country.

While doctors and other medical professional are few in Mississippi compared other states, telemedicine is growing ever more prevalent across the state, putting Mississippi among the nation’s leader in providing diagnosis and treatments remotely.

Notice of that pacesetter role has come from the likes of PricewaterhouseCoopers, a worldwide assurance, tax and advisory services provider. In a February interview with Politico, Ceci Connolly, managing director of PwC’s Health Research Institute, said Mississippi has established itself as an “early adopter” of telemedicine “by allowing providers, consumers and regulators to grow accustomed to the virtual connection of doctors and patients.”

Arkansas has also noticed and followed Mississippi’s effort to establish telemedicine connections with every hospital emergency department in the state, the Politico article reported. .

UMMC took the lead in 2003 with creation of the Center for Telehealth, a provider of telemedicine, wellness care and disaster response that center officials say has helped more than a half million rural Mississippians in need.

Today it offers telehealth services in more than 30 medical specialties, the center says.

TelehealthONE has likewise been busy expanding its offerings during its first year of life. It has achieved Medicaid and Medicare certification and received a designation as a certified health care provider by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi, which covers more than half of Mississippi’s insured, according to Mangum.

While drugstore giants such as Walgreens and CVS have opened conventional walk-in clinics across the country, neither has established one in Mississippi.

Among telehealthONE current offerings are:
» AssuranceONE – Provided to patients to assist with recovery through post-acute care supervision, remote daily monitoring and consultation.
» teleTherapy – physical, occupational, and speech therapy via telecommunication and video conferencing
» Psychological testing and counseling
» TeleCorporate – designed for the workplace, mobile medical clinic allows employers to provide on-site primary care.
» Tele-Long Term care and assisted living.
» Tele-Customized Health and Wellness programs for all sectors.
» At home Patient tele-monitoring services
» School based tele-clinics.

The investors in telehealthONE came together with the idea that the future of health care in Mississippi is in removing barriers to reaching an under-served population, said Rowe, who as a doctor of education has been a community college president, schools superintendent and a NASA Earth science specialist, a post from which he retired before joining UMMC.

While market potential is important in deciding where to put the future drug store-based telehealth clinics, Rowe said setting up where other healthcare options are scarce is a guiding principal.

Mosby’s Drug Store is a good match in that regard, said Powe.

“They have such a history there. This is a perfect example of a local business seeking out ways to serve its community.”
Mosby’s owner Bill Mosby said the telehealth clinic fills a void created when Canton’s hospital moved from the east side of town to the west side, taking nearly all of the west side’s physicians and other medical professionals with it.

“We had a clinic with several physicians. They moved,” said Mosby, who moved his family more than a century-and-a-half old pharmacy from downtown Canton 10 years ago to be closer to the hospital on the east side.

“We’re proving them space,” he said. “We’re going to stay here with telehealthONE and see what happens.”

Here’s what clinic can diagnose AND treat (for a $65 fee)
»  Minor illnesses including and related to a cold, cough, sinus congestion, flu, sore throat or fever
» Mild gastrointestinal pain, including: nausea, upset stomach, heartburn, vomiting or diarrhea
» Headaches, migraines or dizziness
»  Body aches, joint pain or back aches
»  Ear infection or swimmer’s ear
» Pink eye and other minor eye injuries
» Allergy treatment
» Asthma and shortness of breath
»  Dermatological conditions
» UTI/Kidney infections/Urinary Incontinence
»  Onsite prescriptions for your convenienc

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