Andrea Robinson is a self-described workaholic. He says he took a lot of pride in his job leading a construction crew. When his doctor told him that he needed to slow down for the sake of his health, he didn’t want to listen.
“I was hard-headed and I kind of overdid it,” Robinson says. “My doctor was concerned for my health and he sent an email to my job and said I couldn’t do it no more.”
Robinson has kidney disease and congestive heart failure. The life-changing diagnosis forced him into early retirement. But he wasn’t anticipating how much of his life would be dedicated to managing his health.
“In one day, I went to my kidney specialist, my heart specialist. A day later I had to go to my primary care. I had to do that each week,” Robinson said.
Robinson lives in Hampton, but his nephrologist and cardiologist are both based in Beaufort. It takes at least 45 minutes to drive to an appointment, and he says the drive can be longer than the appointment itself.
His primary care office, Harrison Peeples Health Care Center in Varnville, is down the street from his house. They started using telehealth to make cardiology appointments more convenient for patients like Andrea.
"It's better for me because I don't have to do the traveling," Andrea said. "I feel comfortable with it."
Across South Carolina, providers have found ways to use telehealth to treat elderly heart failure patients. In Spartanburg and Chapin, elderly patients use remote patient monitoring equipment to send vital signs to their doctors on a daily basis.