WASHINGTON, D.C. – At today’s Senate Broadband Caucus The Future of Telehealth in the 21st Century expo, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) highlighted the need for affordable broadband access to deliver telehealth in West Virginia. The Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC) was one of fifteen innovators from across the country who shared health technologies at today’s expo.

Following a visit to CAMC last year, Senator Capito invited the hospital to demonstrate its Diabetic Retinal Camera, which is used to diagnose diabetes, at today’s expo.

CAMC and the Partners in Health Network have cameras in rural clinics and hospitals throughout West Virginia, which leads the country in diabetes. For diabetic patients, an annual eye screening is crucial to identify and treat diabetes and related symptoms, including blindness. With this technology, patients can go to a remote clinic and have a virtual appointment with an ophthalmologist in Charleston.

“We’re here today because we need reliable, accessible broadband for telemedicine to achieve its full potential. Until we address the state’s lack of connectivity, West Virginians won’t be able to leverage all the benefits telehealth can offer like improved access to care and lower costs,” said Senator Capito, a co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus.

“Technologies like CAMC’s diabetic screenings came about because of the limited ophthalmology services in West Virginia and the high incidence of diabetes,” she continued. “Because of this technology more patients are being diagnosed and beginning treatment than was previously possible. We can build on this progress but only if we also expand broadband access.”

“The Diabetic Retinopathy program has shown us how essential having clear pictures of the eyes are when the patient is located in a rural area and the ophthalmologist is miles or hours away. With enhanced broadband in West Virginia, we will be able to do so much more in the health care world,” said Tom Kuhn, a Program Consultant at CAMC. 

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