The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in the US has secured funding from the Federal Communications Commission to support its Covid-19 telehealth transition efforts.

UAB will use the $1m funding to buy iPads, webcams and remote patient monitoring devices to meet the increasing demand for telehealth during the pandemic.

The organisation will also add telehealth carts in the emergency department and maternal emergency unit to screen patients and mitigate exposure of health care providers.

In addition, telehealth carts will be made available in intensive care units and palliative care units to enable patients to connect with their family and friends when visitation is limited because of the pandemic.

UAB Medicine Telehealth Services executive director Bart Kelly said: “Expansion of telehealth allows for the delivery of quality care in a patient’s home, but it also provides for social distancing in those cases where a patient needs to see their health care provider in person or for those with a loved one in the hospital.

“It keeps patients, visitors and staff safe while not compromising on care.”

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UAB eMedicine started using telehealth carts to improve telehealth services to other hospitals, facilitating access to subspecialty care such as infectious diseases, critical care, stroke and nephrology.

The funding will also be used to expand remote monitoring of Covid-19, especially those at high morbidity and mortality risk due to secondary conditions such as diabetes and heart failure.

UAB eMedicine medical director said: “This will benefit Alabama by expanding telehealth infrastructure in Alabama, which can help reduce access to care, the major health care issue facing the state.

“It will allow us to expand remote patient monitoring and reach patients with whom we could not previously connect.”