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Hi-Tech Rehab To Help Texans


KXAN-TV (10/07/03)

Texas State University in San Marcos has a new program for students. It’s something you won’t find at any other school in the country.

While students benefit from the program now, Texans across the state will soon benefit.

Professor Don Shaw at Texas State University in San Marcos heads a new hi-tech program for physical therapy students called the Telehealth program.

“ It’s unique in a university,” Shaw said.

They can monitor heart rehab patients by phone from a classroom at the school while you do the exercise from home anywhere in the state using a kit delivered to you like 52-year-old cardiac patient Roger Short did.

“ Had some health issues earlier this year that caused me to have some heart problems and irregular heartbeats and I just wanted to get into better physical shape,” Short said.

“ We’re going to elevate his heart rate to a safe level and we’re going to see if we can reproduce any of the symptoms he’s had and if not that’s good news and if so we’ll know what’s going on,” Shaw said.

“ It’s important for us to get students trained in this area so they can go out and as physical therapists bring those skills into the clinical settings via this technology to reach patients,” Shaw said.

The uniqueness of the program allows students to rehabilitate patients now even as they train. Yet another priority of the program is to reach the unreachable.

“ Those who perhaps don’t have an opportunity to get medical care because they don’t have insurance, or because insurance benefits have run out, or they’re not near a clinic,” Shaw said, “We certainly are not going to be taking the place of a physician. We’re an adjunct to a physician’s care. What we’ll do is monitor the patient and then depending on that particular physician’s desire we’ll send a daily report.”

“ I live alone, and I didn’t want to risk being out walking somewhere and have a heart attack,” Short said, “And if there were any problems with my heart Dr. Shaw would see it immediately and let me know.”

Doctors and patients can call 512-245-9613 for more information.

You must meet certain criteria to qualify for the Texas State University Telehealth program . A couple of grants make the program possible.

Some patients will qualify to have the service completely covered while others can pay on a sliding scale, depending on your income.