Technology allows doctors to take prenatal care to homeless women — even ultrasounds

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Prenatal care is essential to deliver a healthy baby, and now staff and students at Touro University are working to expand medical care so everyone has access.

A partnership between Touro and the United Health Foundation is working to get prenatal care to women who are experiencing homelessness.

Dr. Carl Allen of Southwest Medical Associates is a practicing OB-GYN here in the valley.

“We need to know that we are ranked 47th in the nation when it comes down to women’s health care from health care providers,” he said. “We have a growing population, and we need to make sure that every patient, every woman, gets high quality care. And this partnership is going to be very important to get service to underserved women throughout the community.”

Touro is taking advantage of new technology to help get prenatal care to where it is needed.

Two medical students from Touro demonstrated the technology.

“What they are holding is a handheld ultrasound,” Allen said. “When they go into the field in a mobile unit, they are going to be able to assess pregnant women where they are.”

And that’s a significant part of helping homeless women.

“In our practice, we’ve done a great job at Southwest Medical, of putting clinics on bus lines so patients can get to us,” Allen said. “You’d be surprised. Some patients take four transfers. With this technology, and with these young students, and their physicians in the mobile unit, it’s going to really change the way underserved communities are getting care.”

Ultrasound images are projected onto their phones, and can be sent to other medical professionals. “This is an incredible technology because as you see, there are no wires attached to it anymore,” said Dr. Wolfgang Gillar, of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Touro.

“Our students, from their first year, will have in the curriculum the idea of what it means to have maternal health care — women’s health care — going forward,” Gillar said.

And Dr. Allen emphasized the importance of prenatal care. “Every woman deserves the chance to have great prenatal care,” he said.

He explained that better medical care leads to healthy babies, decreases infant mortality and levels the field for all of us. The babies are our future, he said.

“I think it’s a great partnership because when you train young physicians from their first year on to their graduating year to become able-bodied OB-GYNs or family practitioners taking care of these patients, we can all benefit as a whole city and state,” Allen said.

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