Sickle cell disease telemedicine network for rural outreach

J Telemed Telecare. 2000;6(5):285-90. doi: 10.1258/1357633001935923.


The Medical College of Georgia (MCG) Sickle Cell Center in Augusta, Georgia, USA, provides consultation and (in some cases) primary-care services to more than 1000 patients with sickle cell disease (SCD). Three SCD telemedicine clinic sites were established in rural areas of middle and southern Georgia, based on clinical need; a fourth site had been proposed. Over a 36-month study period, 77 telemedicine SCD clinics were held. There was a mean of 6.1 (SD 2.5) encounters per clinic and 466 total encounters among 128 SCD patients. By using telemedicine, the productivity of the MCG adult sickle cell clinic increased from 1413 to 1889 encounters a year, with an increase in rural outreach activity from 271 to 745 encounters a year. This was accomplished with the addition of a single physician assistant during the last 12 months of the study period; otherwise provider staffing was unchanged. A formal cost-benefit analysis now needs to be carried out.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / therapy*
  • Community Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Georgia
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Rural Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Rural Health Services / standards
  • Telemedicine*