The University of North Carolina (UNC) Health Southeastern, Lumberton, N.C., is expanding a new telehealth initiative designed to improve patient care access. 

As of March 1, UNC Health Southeastern patients who need to schedule telehealth visits but do not have adequate internet access at home or through their mobile device can sign up to use a UNC telehealth booth placed in strategic locations in the community. 

The first booths were stationed at UNC Health Southeastern’s Community Health Education Center, also known as CHEC, located within Biggs Park Mall in Lumberton.

“Telehealth is an extremely important alternative to face-to-face medical appointments that allows patients to stay connected to primary care providers to maintain their overall good health,” says Lori Dove, UNC Health Southeastern vice president and chief administrative officer. “This is another way we are working to serve our community while encouraging them not to delay important care for their overall wellness even amid concerns about exposure to COVID-19.”

The booth was the first of five that will be placed around Robeson County, N.C., as part of a “Fill the Gap” grant from North Carolina Healthcare Foundation. Additional booths have been and will continue to be added by December 2021 through funds provided by a North Carolina COVID-19 Hospital Preparedness Program grant, also from the North Carolina Healthcare Foundation. Since launching in March, booths have been placed in Mohr Plaza and Maxton Medicine Shoppe. Robeson Community College has been confirmed as a future site of a telehealth booth through this program.

“This new access point at CHEC and future booths will allow us to offer telehealth services to individuals who may have had limited medical care access due to connectivity in their communities with an added barrier of COVID-19 insecurities,” says Lekisha Hammonds, UNC Health Southeastern Community Health Services director.