NORTHEAST HARBOR, ME — With the Sunbeam back in service, it’s good to see photos and read notes from the boat’s crew at work among unbridged Maine islands.
Jillian, the Sunbeam Steward, sent this photo, saying, “[Sunbeam Engineer] Storey giving Douglas and Sharon — with more flu shots — a ride onto Monhegan in the skiff last Wednesday.
“While we crew waited off shore, I made granola and cookies,” said Jillian.
Learn more about Sharon’s and Douglas’s work.
It’s Thank you Thursday. Today’s shout out of Mission love goes to Carroll Drug Store in Southwest Harbor, and Jensen’s Pharmacy in Rockland ME for “going the extra mile” while helping Island Services Director Sharon Daley, RN do her work among Maine island communities.
“Both small local pharmacies have been so helpful to me through the years,” said Sharon Daley. “Getting flu vaccine for the islands would have been impossible without their help.
“I have called both pharmacists — who are always very busy — with questions about patient medications. Often I’m calling about patients who aren’t getting their medication at the pharmacies. Still, both pharmacies, without fail, take time to answer our questions,” she said.
“They also understand the difficulty of getting your medications on an island and do their best to help,” continued Sharon. “I really appreciate their willingness to help and for going the extra mile in all they do for their customers and for me.”
This is what community looks like.
On the Web: Carroll Drug Store — Jensen’s Pharmacy
The important work of telemedicine on Maine islands
By Maine Seacoast Mission • September 12, 2019
For Maine’s island residents, accessing even basic health care is a significant challenge. Trips to the mainland, when possible, are expensive and time consuming.
Since 1905, the Maine Seacoast Mission has played a vital role connecting residents of Maine’s most isolated unbridged islands with services: access to medical and dental care, spiritual support, education, and crisis services. The first of the Mission’s ships named Sunbeam, commissioned in 1912, carried books, supplies, and pastoral care to Maine islands, lighthouses, and isolated coastal communities of Hancock and Washington counties.
The Sunbeam also transported the very ill to hospitals, and provided basic health care and vaccinations.
Today, the Sunbeam V, with a Captain and four-person crew, carries on its work, combining Mission traditions with modern telemedicine.
Full story and photos
Photo courtesy Portland Press Herald
Updated July 28
Maine still waiting for internet health care revolution
Poor broadband and out-of-step Medicare policies relegate the state’s use of telehealth to small niches when it should be in the mainstream.
By J. Craig Anderson, Staff Writer
Information technology should be revolutionizing the way patients in Maine interact with their health care providers, but poor broadband infrastructure and outdated federal policies are slowing progress to a crawl.
Many people believe the best way to increase access to quality, affordable health care in Maine is to connect more patients and providers in real time over the internet and cellular networks via an approach known broadly as telehealth, but there are major obstacles.
[One] program, created in 2001 by the Maine Seacoast Mission, involves a boat outfitted with telehealth equipment and staffed by nurse Sharon Daley, the mission’s director of island health. The mobile telehealth service regularly visits 10 inhabited islands east of Boothbay Harbor, including Frenchboro, Isle au Haut and Matinicus.
Daley said the program has saved island residents countless hours of costly travel for routine medical appointments.
“It costs a couple hundred dollars to go off-island,” she said. “You miss a day of work.”
L-R: Mission Health Director Sharon Daley, RN and Dr. Anand Viswanathan, MD, PhD.
Mission Health Director Sharon Daley, RN (second from left) with Dr. Anand Viswanathan and his research team at Massachusetts General Hospital.
BAR HARBOR, ME — “Monday, April 15, I spent an amazing day at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) thanks to Anand Viswanathan, MD, PhD,” said the Mission’s Island Health Director Sharon Daley, RN.
Director Daley’s was somewhat of a full-circle visit. In May 2018, at the invitation of then-Mission President Scott Planting, Dr. Anand spent three days accompanying Sharon aboard the ‘Sunbeam V’ for her regular telemedicine run.
Dr. Anand, a Neurologist, is a member of the Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and is a staff neurologist in both the Stroke Service and Memory Disorders Unit. He also works with patients in remote areas, such as northern Maine, via telemedicine. His work and the Sunbeam’s island work are a natural fit.
After that trip, Anand wrote to Sharon, “…I think you guys are doing really outstanding and important work, although not always glamorous. I think you guys are really the unsung medical heroes of the Maine islands.”
During her recent visit with Dr. Anand at MGH, Sharon attended “a meeting where the newest research was presented,” she said. And she “was also shown [MGH’s] stroke telemedicine program.
Sharon explained, “Dr. Anand and other physicians provide stroke telemed and consultations to Maine hospitals. The technology enables the physicians to [remotely] see all of the scans, labs, and the patient.”
But, Sharon added, what “impressed me more than the technology is the dedication I saw in the people I met.”
Mission Health Director Daley said the MGH “team was very interested” in the ‘Sunbeam’ telemedicine work. “Anand and the team offered to do anything they can to support [that work] any way they can,’ Daley said, which is great news for the Mission and the island communities with which we work.
To learn more about the ‘Sunbeam V’ telemedicine work click here.