Institute partners with rural south Georgia school district to offer concussion care and reduce healthcare gap

Gwinnett Medical Center (GMC)-Duluth announced today that its Concussion Institute has partnered with Ware County Schools to provide concussion care for, potentially, 6,000 students and athletes via telemedicine. Through this partnership, GMC-Duluth will be the first hospital in Georgia to offer school-based concussion care through telemedicine, broadening area students' access to critical, specialty care with the convenience of virtual appointments.

Once a concussion is suspected, experts at the Concussion Institute will work directly with the county's nurses and athletic staff to conduct appointments in the schools' clinics through the Global Partnership for Telehealth's web-based telehealth platform, Pathways. With access to this platform, students will have same-day or next-day contact with the appropriate GMC specialists, which is critical to proper concussion diagnosis, treatment, and management.

"We selected the GMC team because of their exceptional expertise in the field of concussion care," said Millie Thrift, telemedicine coordinator for Ware County Schools. "Ware County has historically been on the forefront of providing specialty services via telemedicine, and the expansion to concussion care strengthens our pediatric offerings and helps us provide the best possible care for students."

GMC will also help facilitate baseline ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) for Ware County high school athletes, with intent to expand baseline testing to middle school athletes in the county. Such evaluations are critical in the management of concussions and determining typical brain functions on a normal day. They help doctors better diagnose and treat individuals who sustain head injuries that may result in a concussion.

In addition to medical appointments, the GMC team will work with educators to determine an academic plan for students so they can return to the classroom and extracurricular activities when appropriate. GMC will also educate teachers and parents about symptoms, proper care and more.

"The partnership with Ware County is yet another way we are able to fulfill our mission of providing quality healthcare to rural communities," said Nish Patel, vice president of operations at GMC-Duluth. "We recognize that appropriate medical staffing is critical to concussion care of athletes and non-athletes alike, and we are excited for the opportunity to expand into Ware County."

Georgia has one of the most comprehensive public health telemedicine networks in the nation, offering statewide access to specialty care. Telemedicine enables healthcare providers to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients remotely, therefore helping reduce healthcare access gaps.

About Gwinnett Health System
Gwinnett Health System (GHS) is the parent company of Gwinnett Medical Center, Gwinnett Medical Group and Sequent Health Physician Partners. GHS employs 5,500 associates and has 800 affiliated physicians serving more than 600,000 patients annually. Gwinnett Medical Center (GMC) is a nationally-recognized, not-for-profit healthcare network with acute-care hospitals in Lawrenceville and Duluth. Additional facilities include: the Gwinnett Women's Pavilion, the Gwinnett Extended Care Center, Glancy Rehabilitation Center, outpatient health centers and surgical centers, imaging centers and outpatient physical, occupational and speech therapy facilities. To learn more about how GMC is transforming healthcare, visit gwinnettmedicalcenter.org.