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UAMS awarded $940K to help with digital COVID-19 response

The hospital's goal is to increase digital health options for patients, which will give patients easier access to information from home.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — UAMS was awarded close to a million dollars in funds to help with COVID-19 response across the state.

A big part of this means getting treatment digitally.

“Digital health is critically important in the COVID-19 era,” UAMS Chief Clinical Informatics Officer Dr. Joe Sanford said.

Providing digital health options just got a lot easier for UAMS as they were awarded $940,000 from the FCC. Part of this is to purchase new technology.

“It is specifically for the purpose of enabling telehealth and remote patient monitoring, so that hospitals and organizations can respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing our digital health options for patients and their families,” Sanford said.

This means thousands of Arkansans will be able to have digital COVID-19 screenings.

It will also help limit in-person doctors’ visits for continuous patients, like pregnant women.

“Bring more information into the patient’s home, so they don’t have to get blood pressure checks or other vital signs assessments and allows them to have easier access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” Sanford said.

The new technology is to help patients and employees.

“It’s as easy to drop a Zoom link into a text message, like for instance, this interview,” Sanford said.

This will allow workers to be screened before stepping foot inside.

“In our initial implementation, we had dozens upon dozens of volunteers at screening stations, helping people fill out the questionnaires, taking temperatures, passing out the stickers that say ‘you’re cleared to work at UAMS for the day,’” Sanford said.

The technology will limit unnecessary contact.

“This tool will allow a Bluetooth connected thermometer to link to the questionnaire that we have and then that goes to our employee health services,” Sanford said.

Sanford said these services will help beyond COVID-19 and be good resources to have during the seasonal flu.

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