Here’s another example of the succesful implementation of telehealth products and services from iHealthBeat:

May 20, 2011 – Topic: Telehealth

A New Mexico-based program that uses telehealth technology and case-based  learning helped increase the number of consultations provided for hepatitis C  and other chronic diseases, according to a new Health Affairs study, CMIO reports (CMIO, 5/20).

About the Project

The initiative — called Project ECHO, or Extension for Community Healthcare  Outcomes — enables specialists from the University of New Mexico Health  Sciences Center to partner with primary care providers in rural and underserved  areas of the state.

The primary care providers undergo an orientation and training at UNM’s  School of Medicine in Albuquerque, where they learn about the project’s  communication technology and weekly telehealth clinics (Fleming, “Health Affairs Blog,” Health Affairs, 5/19).

For the telehealth clinics, UNM specialists and disease-specific teams of  primary care providers meet weekly via videoconference to review specific cases.  The specialists and health care providers also work together to coordinate care  for patients with chronic illnesses.

Project ECHO also provides online disease management tools to aid in patient  consultations and a centralized database to monitor patient outcomes.

Study Findings

According to the study, fewer than 1,600 New Mexico residents had received  treatment for hepatitis C and chronic liver disease before Project ECHO began  its pilot program in 2003.

However, by March 2011, 298 Project ECHO teams had collaborated on more than  10,000 consultations for hepatitis C and other chronic conditions, the study  found.

Expansion of Project

Organizers of the initiative have expanded Project ECHO to address other  chronic conditions, such as asthma, diabetes and pediatric obesity. In  addition, the Project ECHO model is being replicated at the University of  Chicago and the University of Washington in Seattle (CMIO, 5/20).

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