U.C. Merced Telemedicine

Merced, CA Jennifer Smith, U.C. Merced Telemedicine Project Mngr. said, "Telemedicine is very valuable to us because we such a huge shortage of physicians here already, and that means we have very limited access."

The equipment is now set up at six sites across the valley, including the John C. Fremont Clinic in Greeley Hill. These staff members appeared from the small clinic near Yosemite during a demonstration of the new Tele-health partnership program at U.C. Merced.

Maureen Spacke, John C. Fremont Nursing Director said, "We have no specialists up in that area, very rural community, sometimes they get snowed in, especially winter time the roads are very hard to traverse, and it's a poor population also, so getting down the hill is tough for them."

The equipment looks similar to a web cam, but the image is in high definition, and it's transmitted over a secure network directly from site to site, not over the internet.

Jason Garcia with Castle Family Health Centers said, "So the high definition digital cameras, what they can do is zoom on a patient and maybe see that their veins are distended and a certain lesion on their hand or how their eyes appear to them, and that's how they can help to diagnose things."

Jason Garcia is the clinical supervisor at Castle Family Health Centers in Atwater. It's also one of the first 6 Tele-health locations funded through nearly a $1,000,000 dollars in donations, but it's actually a provider site that will make specialists available to patients in other areas. U.C. Merced is hoping to expand the program to another 20 sites, but the timing will depend largely on the state budget.

Now organizers are just working to get the word out to patients in need.

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