CONWAY S.C. (WBTW) — Conway Medical Center received a $510,000 grant from The Duke Endowment to expand its telehealth services.

The hospital will create a telehealth team with the grant. The team will include a nurse practitioner telehealth coordinator and a patient navigator. It will oversee and schedule telehealth services for the hospital. The expansion of services, however, will take place through a pilot program.

Approximately 500 participants from rural and medically underserved areas will learn how to use telehealth services, receive primary care via telehealth, then their health outcomes will be examined for improvement.

“Currently we already have a telemedicine platform, and we’re doing telemedicine visits, but this definitely will springboard us into allowing us to do even more and reach even more people,” said Dr. Paul Richardson, CMC Chief Medical Officer.

CMC officials said the rural areas initially proposed for this pilot program are Aynor, Galivants Ferry, Longs, Loris and Green Sea, but details are still being worked out.

Richardson said many studies have indicated people in rural areas face many challenges when it comes to accessing health care.

“The distance makes it very difficult for them and number two is the transportation issues, but when you can do it through telemedicine, through virtual visits, you kind of eliminate a lot of that,” Richardson said.

Telehealth services aren’t foreign to Horry County and over the last five years, they’re more commonly used.

McLeod Health has telehealth services available 24/7.

Back in 2020, Little River Medical Center rolled out telehealth in Horry County Schools.

This is the sixth grant CMC has received from The Duke Endowment in the past five years totaling nearly $4 million.