VERMILLION, S.D. — The University of South Dakota will use a $500,000 federal grant from the U.S. Agriculture Department to strengthen health care services in 24 rural South Dakota communities while giving medical school and nursing students firsthand experience in telemedicine.
Telemedicine allows health care professionals to treat patients through the exchange of medical information over two-way video, email, smartphones, wireless tools and other forms of electronic communications.
USD’s project, called “A Bridge to the Frontier: Preparing South Dakota’s Future Doctors and Nurses for Rural Practice," creates new telemedicine connections that link health education hubs at the USD campuses in Vermillion, Pierre, Rapid City and Sioux Falls with 24 rural hospitals and clinics throughout South Dakota.
The immediate benefit for those rural areas will be opportunities for existing health care professionals to stay current on the latest best practices over the telemedicine network through simulation centers at USD campuses in Vermillion and Sioux Falls. The three-year program will also help about 675 medical school and nursing students become more comfortable working in a rural environment, which increases the likelihood they return to those areas to fill the need for rural health care.
“This telehealth initiative is critically important to advancing our curriculum for medical students and nursing students. We feel strongly that physicians and nurses of the future must be able to leverage technology to its fullest in order to maximize the health of our rural populations," said Dr. Mary Nettleman, vice president for Health Affairs at USD and dean of the USD Sanford School of Medicine.
USD’s award was the second-largest of 75 grants in 31 states from a total of $23.4 million provided by the USDA as part of the agency’s Rural Utilities Service Distance Learning and Telemedicine program.
The following South Dakota hospitals and clinics will be recipients or end users of the telemedicine connections, also shown in Google Maps:
- Avera Medical Group, Milbank
- Spearfish Regional Hospital
- Avera Dells Area Hospital
- Mobridge Regional Hospitals and Clinics
- Winner Regional Healthcare Center and Winner Regional Clinic
- Coteau Des Prairie Hospital and Clinic, Sisseton
- Sanford Chamberlain Medical Center
- Community Memorial Hospital, Redfield
- Avera Medical Group Flandreau
- Custer Regional Medical Clinic
- Sanford Webster Medical Center
- Avera St. Benedict Health Center, Parkston
- Avera Hand County Memorial Hospital, Miller
- Avera Gregory Hospital
- Freeman Regional Health Services
- Platte Health Center Avera
- St. Michaels’ Hospital Avera, Tyndall
- Avera Weskota Memorial Hospital, Wessington Springs
- Landmann-Jungman Clinic, Scotland
- Viborg Medical Clinic (Pioneer Health Services)
- Philip Health Services
- Faulkton Area Medical Center
- Douglas County Memorial Hospital, Armour
- Pioneer Memorial Hospital, Viborg