Bringing Virtual Care to Smith Island - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Bringing Virtual Care to Smith Island

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Smith Island (Photo: WBOC) Smith Island (Photo: WBOC)
SMITH ISLAND, Md.- New technology is on the way to Smith Island and it will be changing the meaning of doctor's house call.

Dr. Kerry Palakanis from the Crisfield Clinic is working to bring telemedicine to the island.  It's new technology that would make a big difference to many of the islands full-time residents, particularly the older folks.

"If you're a sick person or somebody getting on a boat everyday to go over to your local doctor, a lot of it depends on the weather, a lot of it depends on your age.  If you're an older person, getting on and off a boat can be difficult," said Missy Evans, a full-time Smith Island resident and the treasurer of Smith Island United.

Telemedicine utilizes a television or computer screen, a camera and various other tools for providing medical care remotely.  The technology goes well beyond a regular video chat.

"If you had an earache I could see inside your ear like if I was taking care of you right here.  I would be able to look inside your throat.  Listen to your chest, I could hear your heart sounds your breath sounds.  It would basically be a virtual visit, that's often what it is referred to," Palakanis said.

Palakanis is currently fundraising for the new equipment.  The hope is to have one machine on Tylerton and another for Ewell and Rhodes Point, the two towns connected by a road on Smith Island.  However, each can run anywhere from $15,000-$20,000.  Palakanis said the difference after fundraising will be funded and the hope is to have telemedicine on Smith Island by about mid-November.
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