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UAB Coronavirus Respiratory Clinic Expands Telehealth Efforts

From the University of Alabama at Birmingham:

August 11, 2020

By Jessica Jernigan

In late April, UAB Medicine’s COVID Respiratory Clinic opened its doors to COVID-positive patients who are experiencing worsening symptoms at home. Since then, as the number of cases has increased, the clinic has tripled the number of patients seen in a day.

“The clinic is meeting the current demand and has the capacity to expand to see a greater number of patients if needed,” said Turner Overton, M.D., professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases. “Patients have been very appreciative of having a clinic where they can be evaluated without being hospitalized or going to the emergency room.”

To better monitor patients remotely, the providers in the clinic have expanded telehealth operations through new technology made possible by a $1 million award from the Federal Communications Commission COVID-19 fund.

“Staying connected to our patients is incredibly important,” said Irfan M. Asif, M.D., chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine and one of the clinic providers. “Through this new technology, we will be able to monitor our patients at home, assuring that their vital signs, including oxygen levels, remain stable.”

Similar to a watch, the device can be worn as an easy-to-use health management solution. It tracks vital health information and transfers the data to the patient’s physician, allowing for appropriate care interventions and interactions.

In addition, Overton says there will be several more trials for COVID treatments in the outpatient setting and COVID vaccines for the general population.

“We need our fellow citizens to participate in these trials so we can develop interventions to prevent COVID-19 altogether and allow us to return to our regular way of life,” he said.

Those interested in participating can contact the Alabama Vaccine Research Clinic at 205-934-6777.

The COVID Respiratory Clinic is operated by the Department of Medicine’s Division of Infectious Diseases in collaboration with physicians representing Internal Medicine and the Department of Family and Community Medicine.

The clinic is located in the Regions Bank building at 539 Richard Arrington Blvd. and is open Monday through Friday from 1-4 p.m. Patients must have a referral to make an appointment.

Referrals are available from both UAB and community health care providers.

To schedule an appointment with a UAB Medicine provider, please call 205-934-9999.

This press release was produced by the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The views expressed here are the author’s own.


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