WVU Medicine Cabinet News Stories
Get the latest health news delivered to you.

WVU Healthcare telemedicine reduces travel expenses for patients

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU Healthcare telemedicine is making it easier for families to receive quality care in their hometowns without travel expenses to Morgantown and missed time from work or school. Amy Chewning, of Elkins, W.Va., and her son Albert are among those to benefit from telemedicine – a medical appointment conducted remotely through a computer, web camera, and secure server between a WVU physician and a partnering medical clinic. Since the age of two, Albert Chewning has received care from WVU pediatric cardiologist John Phillips, M.D., for a heart condition that causes a rapid rhythm called SVT or supraventricular tachycardia. Chewning, now 10 years old, underwent a procedure last year called cardiac ablation to correct his heart rhythm problem. Two of Chewning’s post-operation appointments with Dr. Phillips took place through telemedicine. “I thought it was a great way for us to receive the same kind of care we receive in person because it saved us on time and gas money. Normally, I have to take Albert out of school for a whole day to get to an appointment in Morgantown, and I have to miss a day of work. Now, he can return to school after his appointment here, and I can get back to work,” said Amy Chewning, a nurse at Arbor Community Health in Elkins. Chewning also assists patients at Arbor Community Health during WVU Healthcare cardiology, neurology, and neurosurgery telemedicine appointments. “A lot of people in our area can’t afford to travel to Morgantown to see a doctor, and telemedicine is a wonderful way for them to receive the care they need.” WVU physicians have been consulting by video with patients and their primary care doctors across the state since the 1990s. The original Mountaineer Doctor Television (MDTV) network was established by WVU School of Medicine faculty members James E. Brick, M.D., (now chair of the WVU Department of Medicine) and John F. Brick, M.D., (now chair of the WVU Department of Neurology). The twin brothers, both of whom are graduates of the School, won several federal grants to construct telemedicine links among WVU’s health campuses in Morgantown, Charleston, and in rural hospitals and community health centers across the state. “Telemedicine is a key tool in meeting our mission of reducing health disparities that affect West Virginians,” Christopher C. Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., WVU chancellor for health sciences and president and CEO of the West Virginia United Health System, said. “By making WVU Healthcare specialists available to patients at other locations across the state more than 5,000 times last year, the MDTV program has helped rural physicians and hospitals deliver the highest possible quality of care to their communities.” The total number of provided telemedicine appointments in 2013 was 5,377, an increase of 1,633 consultations over the previous year. Other WVU Healthcare telemedicine specialties include pediatrics, student health psychiatry, psychiatry, and stroke. Sixteen counties are currently being served: Barbour, Clay, Grant, Greenbrier, Jackson, Logan, McDowell, Mercer, Mineral, Mingo, Pocahontas, Randolph, Roane, Tucker, Upshur, and Wood. [...]

WVU Cancer Center, WVU Healthcare to offer free skin cancer screening

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – As warmer weather begins to make its way into the area, people are starting to spend more time outside in the sun. Experts at the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center at West Virginia University and WVU Healthcare encourage you to protect your skin and will offer free skin cancer screenings from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 13 at the Cancer Center. Participants will be asked to complete a form describing their medical and sun exposure history and will be examined by a physician. If anything suspicious is found during the five-minute exam, the patient will be referred for a dermatology appointment. Advance registration is required by May 9. Call 304-598-4500 to make an appointment. “Unlike some cancers, skin cancer can be detected at an early stage when it is curable,” Rodney Kovach, M.D., chief of the WVU Section of Dermatology, said. “Even melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer, has a high cure rate if detected early. That is why it is so important to schedule an annual skin cancer screening by a physician.”   Dr. Kovach recommends a monthly skin self-exam in addition to seeing a physician annually. “You should check for things like changes in moles, dry and scaly rough patches, and slowly growing bumps,” he said. “Get to know your skin and what is and isn’t normal.” Kovach added that two of the most important pieces of advice he can offer to prevent skin cancer is to avoid spending a lot of time in the sun and avoid tanning beds and sun lamps because both natural and manmade ultraviolet exposure are the primary causes of all skin cancers. His other skin-cancer prevention tips include: •    Avoiding the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are most intense •    Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 daily •    Wearing sunglasses that block the most harmful rays •    Wearing long sleeves, long pants, and a hat with a wide brim when outside The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that one in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime, and one person dies from melanoma every hour. “Our annual skin cancer screening is an opportunity to continue raising awareness about skin cancer,” Kovach said, “and to remind and encourage people to follow advice on how to protect their skin.”  [...]

SWVL Week brings healthy competition to Wyoming County

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Two fiercely competitive Wyoming County high schools are going head to head in a contest to adopt healthy behaviors. The Southern West Virginia Lifestyles Project (SWVL, pronounced “swivel”), an ongoing health initiative created by the West Virginia University School of Public Health, kicked off SWVL Week Monday, April 14 at Wyoming East High School and Westside High School to promote and encourage healthier living among students and their families.      Throughout the week of April 14-18, Wyoming East and Westside High School students will learn about healthier dietary alternatives and ways to become more physically active in their everyday lives. Developed in response to feedback from students representing both schools, a student competition will use the Twitter hashtags #SWVLEast and #SWVLWest to measure which school’s students apply the most health-conscious behaviors. The winning school will be announced Friday, April 18 and will receive a SWVL Health Fair, including Zumba classes, a bounce house, and various prizes, including gym equipment and a football autographed by the WVU Football Team. A recent report from Gallup’s State of the States survey once again placed West Virginia among the unhealthiest states in the nation, ranked second behind Mississippi. In an effort to reverse the trend, Wyoming County has been chosen as the pilot county to host SWVL, led by School of Public Health faculty member Michael McCawley, Ph.D.. The program was founded by students from the School of Public Health who are former Wyoming County residents. It aims to provide residents of Southern West Virginia with the information and resources needed to make healthier lifestyle choices. Community members in Wyoming County have rallied behind the program. “When I learned of the new WVU School of Public Health and that Dr. McCawley and others may want to bring their programs in Wyoming County, I knew I had to get involved,” David “Bugs” Stover, a longtime Mullens resident, schoolteacher, and county circuit clerk, said. Stover has been an integral member of the advocacy for healthier lifestyle changes in Wyoming County since SWVL’s inception. He will be helping the SWVL team kick off the competition. The Southern West Virginia Lifestyles Project is a collaborative effort from the WVU Schools of Public Health, Nursing, Dentistry, and Pharmacy, the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, and the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism. For more information about SWVL, visit swvlproject.com or follow @swvlproject on Twitter. [...]

WVU student pharmacists host health fair for local seniors

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Second-year students from the [...]

Want to stay up-to-date on the latest WVU Medicine health news?
Sign up to receive the quarterly WVU Medicine Cabinet e-newsletter