Calls to MIST surge after natural disasters and disease pandemics.

Before the Internet and smartphones, there was MIST. Forty years ago, UAB’s medical center pioneered a toll-free, 24-hour hotline—Medical Information Service via Telephone—that connected physicians anywhere in the country with UAB specialists for consultations or referrals. The program was copied across the United States, and even in today’s e-networked world, it’s going strong. Program manager Lynn Watson recalls one doctor declaring, “I can practice in rural Alabama because I have a beeper, a cell phone, and the MIST number.”