Community Health Meets Technology in Jackson, TN

Virtual visits and rural hospitals increase access to care for Jackson residents.

By
Cynthia Yeldell Anderson
On Monday, January 27, 2020 - 13:54
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The quality and diversity of medical care sets Jackson apart from other cities. Anchored by three powerhouse health care providers — The Jackson Clinic, West Tennessee Healthcare and Le Bonheur Children’s Outpatient CenterJackson has become a health care hub with high-quality care that attracts patients throughout West Tennessee.

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David Bard Adkins

The Jackson Clinic

With more than 125 physicians and 30 specialties and subspecialties, The Jackson Clinic gives patients across West Tennessee access to quality health care in person or virtually through its new Telehealth Video Visit program.

Launched in May, The Jackson Clinic’s Telehealth Video Visit program allows patients to see a doctor using their smartphone, tablet or computer.

Patients don’t have to leave home to be treated for nonemergency situations, such as colds.

Local doctors talk live with patients from the Convenient Care office web camera or their home offices, and they are able to send prescriptions directly to the patient’s pharmacy. Telehealth visits cost $49.

Amy Smith, director of business operations for The Jackson Clinic, says telehealth gives patients better access to care, and by using only local clinic doctors, patients benefit from better continuity of care.

Smith says The Jackson Clinic would like to expand the program.

“We are just starting to unlock the program’s potential,” Smith says.

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Ken West

Le Bonheur Children’s Outpatient Center

The Jackson community is lucky enough to be home to a satellite location of the world-renowned Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. More than a decade ago, Memphis-based Le Bonheur opened the Le Bonheur Children’s Outpatient Center in Jackson. Each year, demand and services have continued to expand, with Le Bonheur tripling in size, opening a new Vann Drive facility in 2018 and launching its telehealth service in Jackson this year.

With the launch of telehealth, Le Bonheur’s Jackson clinic has added otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat) to its growing list of specialties.

Director of West Tennessee Pediatrics at Le Bonheur Diane Rushing says services have continued to expand in Jackson, and now, more specialists are based full time in Jackson where 16 pediatric specialty services are offered.

“In the beginning, all of our specialists came in from Memphis,” Rushing says. “We now have otolaryngology, and we are doing it via telemedicine. It’s doing very well.”

Telehealth offers patients better access to specialty care while saving time and money. The virtual visit allows a pediatric nurse practitioner to use telemedicine equipment in Jackson to link patients to a live otolaryngology specialist in Memphis. It saves patients the time and expense of driving to see a specialist.

“Although we have people that transportation is an issue, for others its convenience of being close to home and not having to take off and drive to Memphis,” Rushing says. “It’s easier access for patients in West Tennessee.”

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Rachel Paul and Will Sullivan

West Tennessee Healthcare

As the region’s largest employer, West Tennessee Healthcare re-established its commitment to the community when it acquired Tennova Healthcare-Regional Hospital Jackson in a purchase agreement with Community Health Systems Inc. (CHS) that included Dyersburg Regional in Dyersburg and Volunteer Martin in Martin.

Amy Garner, vice president and chief compliance and communications officer for West Tennessee Healthcare, says the purchase stabilized health care in the region and saved hundreds of jobs.

“We acquired Dyersburg, Martin and Jackson hospitals to provide services, including emergency services, to those communities,” Garner says.

Services include a level 3 NICU for at-risk babies, a 24-hour emergency obstetrics department, a certified chest pain center and the nation’s first knee replacement lifetime warranty.

West Tennessee Healthcare helps drive the economic engine of the Jackson area, employing approximately 3,000 people in Madison County and a total of 7,000 in the region.

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David Bard Adkins

West Tennessee Healthcare Services

• Level 3 NICU for at-risk babies

• 24-hour emergency obstetrics

• Certified chest pain center

• The nation’s first knee replacement lifetime warranty