CAMERON, TX — Texas A&M Health Science Center has teamed up with the Florida-based company OnMed to deploy Texas' first telemedicine station of its kind.
It has been 18 months since Milam County residents lost not one, but both of their hospitals.
"In December of 2018, everyone was truly upset and concerned. We had little warning that was going to happen, number one, and then for the first time in recent history, we had no emergency room care, we had no after-hours care and we had no hospital," said Milam County Judge Steve Young.
With no option other than to travel 35 minutes to the nearest hospital for after-hour care, Texas A&M University Health Science Center has been working with the company OnMed for the past year to deploy Texas' first telemedicine station.
"It's supposed to fill the gap for that after-hours care and care on the weekends," said Dr. Joy Alonzo, PharmD, M. Engineering with Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy.
The self-contained telemedicine station will provide patients with a live virtual consultation with a licensed clinician who will make a diagnosis and dispense prescription medication on the spot.
"We saw that there was a need in access points. Certainly, telehealth could be generated through a cellphone or a computer, the problem was you didn't have any diagnostic capability to really understand what was going on with the patient," said OnMed founding partner & CEO Austin White.
This one of a kind telemedicine station is apart of A&M's Health Science Center's moonshot project of tackling distance using technology and innovation.
"About a year ago, Texas A&M, the Health Science Center, we received a $10 million grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield Texas, and the money was split into four different projects. This is project #2 tackling distance," said Dr. Alonzo.
Since the beginning of 2010, more than 70 rural hospitals have closed across the country, 26 of which were Texas' rural hospitals, making Milam County perfect for this type of technology.
"I am extremely proud that these fine folks selected Milam County, with good reason, to put the first-ever of its kind telehealth station in this county," said Judge Young.
This OnMed station is located at the Milam County Sheriff's Office at 512 N. Jefferson Ave in Cameron. The station is set to officially open to the community this fall.