Using telemedicine to improve rural women’s health and save babies’ lives

Published May 22, 2018

In some Tennessee counties, infant mortality rates are as high as they are in many third world countries. 

More than 90% of STORC's patients are having healthy babiesOne reason is the high prevalence of chronic conditions like diabetes in mothers before they give birth. Another is profound poverty, which affects access to healthcare and a healthy lifestyle. There’s also the fact that women with high risk pregnancies have trouble accessing quality specialty care in rural areas. A specialist might be two hours away, and if the patient doesn’t have the gas money, the child care or the time off of work to get there, she’ll miss an appointment—and the chance to spot problems before they worsen.

Dr. David Adair conducts a telemedicine visit from his office in ChattanoogaListen to the story of how BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee decided it had a responsibility to tackle the issue and how a partnership with Dr. David Adair, an obstetrics specialist in Chattanooga, helped launch a major telemedicine network to serve rural women. We’ll meet a woman who never misses a telemedicine visit with Dr. Adair and visit a small town clinic that’s connecting women with the specialty care they need.

“I believe that this is something that really does help spread that quality and access to care regardless of your income level and regardless of where you live in the state.”

Chelsea Johnson, Manager, Community Relations, BlueCross BlueShield Tennessee