A population healthcare model in Mississippi that leverages telehealth technology to help curb diabetes has achieved early success and caught the attention of state officials who are part of the public-private partnership.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn visited the North Sunflower Medical Center in Ruleville, Miss. earlier this week as part of a continuing public-private partnership to address the growing diabetes crisis that affects more than 370,000 adults in Mississippi and 29.1 million people nationwide.
The program, which was designed to improve the health of participants as well as reduce the cost of care, provided state-of-the-art fixed and mobile broadband connections.
In 2010, 12.1 percent of adults in the Mississippi Delta, which is among the more underserved and impoverished regions in the nation, reported being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Of that group, 293 died from complications related to the disease. In 2012, diabetic medical expenses in Mississippi totaled $2.74 billion, according to the American Diabetes Association.
This past January the state partnered with the University of Mississippi Medical Center, North Sunflower Medical Center, GE Healthcare, Intel-GE Care Innovations, and C Spire to provide people with diabetes more consistent and timely access to clinicians through the use of telehealth technology in their homes. The program, known as the Diabetes Telehealth Network, aims to enroll up to 200 patients.
“It is very encouraging to see positive results early in the program and hear the personal stories from patients and nurses who believe this program has the ability to create lasting change for individuals and the state of Mississippi,” Bryant said during his visit to the North Sunflower Medical Center. “This innovative partnership has gained the attention of the Federal Communications Commission as we are connecting patients in the rural town of Ruleville to a care management program they otherwise would not have access to in their town.”
The Diabetes Telehealth Network began recruiting patients in August in the Mississippi Delta to participate in an 18-month remote care management program, a concept that fuses technology with UMMC specialists to improve patient outcomes in an underserved area of the state. The program – a first of its kind nationally – is intended to forge a stronger connection between people with diabetes and clinicians in a way that supports earlier clinical intervention, more effective use of health services, and creates positive health habits and behavior change.
Participants in the Diabetes Telehealth Network received tablets powered by a Care Innovations telehealth solution that enables healthcare providers to remotely manage patients with chronic conditions. With their tablets, patients share what’s going on with them physically, emotionally and psychologically through daily health sessions with their clinicians. In addition, the tablets automatically capture their health data, such as weight, blood pressure and glucose levels, and transmit that daily to clinicians.
Using telehealth technology, clinicians can better engage and educate patients, easily adjust medical care plans, schedule phone calls or video chat with patients. C Spire provides the high-speed mobile broadband communications network needed to support the connection between patients and clinicians in even the most remote parts of Mississippi.
“Connecting people to the health and care services they need is the true promise of broadband,” said Clyburn, in a press statement. “I applaud the State of Mississippi and its private partners for making this project a priority. The Diabetes Telehealth Network is a terrific example of the value of the ubiquito
“Just four months into the program, we’re already hearing such great patient feedback about how the Diabetes Telehealth Network is empowering patients to take better control of their diabetes from their home, yet still have the guidance and oversight of clinicians,” said Kristi Henderson, DNP, UMMC’s chief telehealth and innovation officer. In a news release. “This program is helping improve care coordination and strengthen connections between clinicians and patients beyond the walls of a hospital in a way that I think will reduce the use of higher acuity clinical settings, like the ER.”
“Our clinicians have expressed the ease of use with the technology to better manage patients and help coordinate the care they need,” said NSMC Executive Director Billy Marlow. “It’s rewarding to be a part of something that really makes a difference in peoples’ lives, and we are proud of what we have accomplished with the partners thus far.”
Article courtesy of Bernie Monegain at Healthcare IT News.