MUSC Telehealth Physician Receives National Recognition

Contact: Heather Woolwine

May 8, 2018

CHARLESTON, SC – S. David McSwain, M.D., was named Telehealth Champion by the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) at the annual conference in Chicago last week. According to the ATA, the award recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to ATA’s strategy to advocate for public policy changes that open payment support and provide regulatory relief for telehealth services.

A pediatric critical care intensivist, McSwain realized years ago that the use of technology could play a significant role in the initial and follow-up care of critically ill children. McSwain uses a holistic approach to advancing pediatric telehealth, practicing telemedicine himself, working with various collaborative organizations, and working on policy and coverage initiatives at the federal level to address some of the current barriers to widespread telehealth adoption.

“Telehealth has advanced to the point where the availability of technology is no longer the issue. The real frontier is collaboration across organizations and institutions that care for patients and their families,” McSwain said. “Everyone needs to understand the potential of telehealth to make health care better, not just more convenient.”

For the last five years, McSwain has worked to advance the practice of pediatric telehealth in South Carolina by collaborating with health systems across the state via the Children’s Telehealth Collaborative, which he founded with the help of Duke Endowment grant funding.

In addition to his work in South Carolina, McSwain co-founded the national SPROUT (Supporting Pediatric Research on Outcomes and Utilization of Telehealth) collaborative for pediatric telehealth research. This partnership with other health systems using pediatric telehealth is allowing McSwain and his colleagues to form a centralized operation for data collection and research. As part of his involvement at this national level, he also led the development of the ATA’s operating procedures for pediatric telehealth, which have been endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Association of Respiratory Care (AARC), and National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP). These operating procedures provide overarching guidance to clinicians, administrators and policymakers on the safe and effective practice of pediatric telehealth.

“Dr. McSwain has successfully developed pediatric networks to implement telehealth practices that connect, and not fragment the medical home and pediatric care,” said Colleen Kraft, M.D., AAP president. “Telehealth can be used to stabilize ill children, promote primary care – subspecialty collaboration, and directly interact with kids and families as a result of Dr. McSwain’s work.”

According to Steve North, M.D., medical director of Mission Virtual Care in Asheville, North Carolina, McSwain’s contributions have had a dramatic impact on the national conversation surrounding telehealth. “Without Dr. McSwain’s leadership, pediatric telehealth would not be at the forefront in regards to telehealth quality and research.”

McSwain plans to continue his numerous, simultaneous efforts to advance telehealth in South Carolina and beyond, including serving on a team of national experts led by the South Carolina Children’s Telehealth Collaborative, which is creating federal telehealth pilot legislation to improve reimbursement of telehealth for chronic conditions.

About MUSC Health

MUSC Health is the clinical enterprise of the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), comprised of a 700-bed medical center, the MUSC College of Medicine and the physician’s practice plan. It serves patients across South Carolina and beyond through four hospital facilities in Charleston and more than 100 outreach sites. Among these are the Hollings Cancer Center, the only National Cancer Institute-designated center in the state, and a nationally recognized Children’s Hospital. The Medical University was founded in 1824 and has become a premiere academic health sciences center at the forefront of the latest advances in medicine, with world-class physicians, scientists, and groundbreaking research and technology that is often the first of its kind in the world. Visit MUSC Health for more information.

About MUSC Children’s Health

At MUSC Children’s Health we are imagining what’s possible for each and every child by providing the pediatric expertise your child deserves and needs. From promoting healthy lifestyles to offering life-saving treatments, we deliver comprehensive and compassionate care to children throughout South Carolina and beyond. Our integrated health care system consists of a 186-bed pediatric hospital providing the most advanced care possible in more than 26 specialty areas. We also provide the same depth and breadth of expertise in multiple neighborhood locations throughout the Lowcountry, offering primary, urgent, and specialty care. As a Level 1 Trauma center, our pediatric emergency department specializes in providing emergency care for any serious injury or illness your child may experience at home, at school, or at play. Working collaboratively with pediatricians throughout the community, MUSC Children’s Health also provides after-hours care to children from birth to seventeen years of age in three different locations on weeknights, weekends, and holidays. In addition to the clinical care MUSC Children’s Health provides, we are a major pediatric clinical research center conducting significant and ongoing research efforts through the Charles P. Darby Research Institute. This involvement allows us to enhance our ability to provide the highest level of care to children by translating laboratory advances to bedside, developing new technologies, and providing clinical trials.