The Boys & Girls Club of the Umpqua Valley in Roseburg will soon have access to telemedicine for children who attend the club who might have an illness or injury.

One of the first telemedicine kiosks at a Boys & Girls Club in the nation was installed Wednesday and will be ready for use in the next few weeks.

An employee from ViTel Net, a software company from McLean, Virginia, installed the kiosk and computer Wednesday. Plans call for kids at the club to soon have the ability to meet with a health care professional from Evergreen Family Medicine to help resolve health care issues when needed.

The project was funded by Evergreen, with the help of a $100,000 grant from Umpqua Health Alliance to help fund the cost of the equipment.

“That was extremely helpful,” said Dr. Tim Powell, CEO and medical director at Evergreen Family Medicine “We’re glad that we can provide the providers and the nurse, but it’s substantially costly to do this.”

The company provides the hardware and software which is integrated into Evergreen’s electronic medical records.

“This is really a new experience for Boys & Girls Clubs because we’ll have a kiosk here that the kids will be able to have access to a doctor or nurse practitioner if there is ever an issue or problem,” said Bryan Lake, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of the Umpqua Valley in Roseburg.

With the kiosk, there will be video conferencing with the physician and tools for diagnosis and even the parents can call in and participate in the conversation.

“It provides us with a whole range of comfort in my opinion, and gives us a lot of ease knowing that if a kid has a serious issue, we can address it very quickly, as opposed to calling the parent and just having the child down below waiting, not knowing if something is developing,” Lake said. “This is really exciting.”

The system will accommodate third party calls so parents will be able to call in and be as part of the conversation. There will also be a mental health professional and several licensed professional counselors that will be available when needed.

The kiosk at the Boys & Girls Club is just the start of a bigger plan to get telemedicine out to kids throughout Douglas County. A pilot program for all schools in the county will start in the Winston-Dillard School District this fall.

The district will have a portable unit that can be taken to the different schools in the district to offer telemedicine to the students in that district when school starts.

“Instead of a wall mount unit, we have a portable case so we’ll have a medical assistant going around to all the schools based on the need,” said Bobbie Greenman, IT manager for Evergreen.

The case will have a computer screen and all the diagnostic tools to listen to heart and lungs and look at ears and eyes. There is a camera to look at skin and health professionals will be able to conduct a lot of simple tests and potentially could even do COIVID tests.

Tim Powell, CEO and medical director at Evergreen Family Medicine, presented the idea of telemedicine kiosks to the school districts in the county about a year ago, with the hope of getting better health care access to remote areas of the county so the kiosk in the Boys & Girls Club, he hopes, is just the start.

“This is the first step along a journey that I think, is going to make medical care available to a lot of kids in our county that otherwise may struggle to obtain that,” Powell said. “We hope over the next two to three years to at least offer that to every school district in the county.”

Powell said no kid will ever be turned away for any reason.

Reporter Dan Bain can be reached at 541-957-4221 or e-mail at dbain@nrtoday.com.

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Dan Bain is the health reporter for The News-Review. He previously worked at KPIC and 541 Radio.

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