University of Alabama heads up rural health project with $1.8M grant

Culmersmith Halecoems

Hale County EMS, represented by Duane Baines, Kade Roberts and Bailey Crawford, will implement the project, connecting telemedically-equipped ambulances and emergency departments in the communities they serve. Photo courtesy University of Alabama.

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Whitney Leibold

The University of Alabama is leading a project that will increase emergency telemedicine capabilities in Alabama’s rural counties.

UA Capstone College of Nursing professors Nathan Culmer and Todd Smith received $1.8 million dollars in funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture‘s Rural Development’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program. The grant is going toward new telemedicine units, which are devices that will connect 49 ambulances with 18 hospitals across 19 counties, helping ensure patients are taken to the hospital that can best serve them.

“(Ambulance personnel) will be able to communicate with the hospitals, so they can provide in the field data and information to doctors and emergency physicians across Alabama,” Smith said.

The units will ensure faster response and dispatch times and help patients facing life-threatening conditions get to the most appropriate facility for their needs.

“The University of Alabama has a long history in looking in rural areas to try to provide for those rural needs especially when it comes to health care,” Culmer said.

Bibb, Greene and Hale counties are included in the project.

You can read more about the rural health care grant right here.

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