Pilot telemedicine program to serve lung nodule patients in Bibb County

UAB pilot telemedicine program to improve early detection and treatment of lung cancer in Bibb County.

RS17005 Joseph Thachuthara George scr 1Joesph T. Thachuthara-George, M.D. Some lung nodules identified on radiographic studies need specialized follow-up to ensure early detection and treatment of lung cancer. Patients identified with lung nodules will now be able to receive care from University of Alabama at Birmingham physicians via telemedicine.

“Our goal is to get patients diagnosed and treated at an earlier stage,” said Joseph Thachuthara-George, M.D., co-director of the Interventional Pulmonology Program.

This pilot project, in conjunction with UAB eMedicine, will treat patients in rural Bibb County communities at Bibb Medical Center to improve access to health care. If it is determined that patients need a procedure, they will then come to UAB Hospital in Birmingham. UAB is the only medical center in Alabama using telemedicine to treat patients with lung nodules, and the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB is the only cancer center in the state that is recognized by the National Cancer Institute.

Lung cancer is the top cause of cancer-related deaths in Alabama, and catching the disease early is critical.

“Our state has a very high incidence of lung cancer,” Thachuthara-George said. “The goal here is to decrease patient wait time and expedite their diagnosis and staging process so that treatment can be initiated.”

UAB will begin this pilot program in February 2020.