Mississippi to Use Telehealth Technology to Fight Diabetes

  • C Spire
  • GE Healthcare
  • Intel-GE Care Innovations
JACKSON, MS - Gov. Bryant announced that the state of Mississippi has partnered with University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), GE Healthcare, Intel-GE Care Innovations, North Sunflower Medical Center and C Spire to launch a diabetes telehealth network.

Mississippi faces a growing diabetes crisis, ranking second among all states nationwide in disease prevalence with more than 373,000 adults in the state living with some form of diabetes. By using telehealth technology in their homes, people with diabetes will have more consistent and timely access to clinicians.

“This revolutionary telehealth effort will deliver top-notch medical care to patients in one of Mississippi’s most medically underserved areas, providing a new lifeline for health and disease management,” Gov. Phil Bryant said. “Innovations like this also spur further growth and economic benefit in the medical industry. I thank Dr. Henderson and all of the partners for working to make this program a reality.”

Diabetes Telehealth Network
The Diabetes Telehealth Network will begin recruiting patients this spring in the Mississippi Delta to participate in an 18-month remote care management program, a concept which fuses technology with UMMC specialists to improve patient outcomes in a historically underserved area of the state. The program – a first of its kind nationally – is designed to improve the health of participants while also reducing the total cost of care.

In 2010, 12.1 percent of adults in the Mississippi Delta, among the more underserved and impoverished regions in the nation, reported being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and 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.

“We know that diabetes is one of the foremost chronic diseases in Mississippi,” said Dr. Kristi Henderson, director of telehealth at UMMC. “This program can help improve care coordination and strengthen connections between clinicians and patients, and will serve as a proof of concept as we look to expand this model geographically and to other diseases. Sunflower County has been a pioneer with us for telehealth and often is one of our primary sites in starting up new specialties.”

UMMC’s Center for Telehealth offers a growing list of specialty services including cardiology, dermatology, pediatrics, emergency medicine and stroke through audio/visual link-ups at clinics and hospitals across the state. The Diabetes Telehealth Network will take that concept one step further by putting that technology in the hands of the patients themselves in the form of Internet-capable tablets equipped with the Care Innovations™ Guide platform.

The Care Innovations Guide platform enables health-care providers to offer a clinically driven, fully integrated remote care management solution for populations with chronic conditions. The project will recruit up to 200 patients in Sunflower County, MS, who will use Care Innovations technology to share health data, such as weight, blood pressure, and glucose levels, daily with clinicians. The daily information provided by patients gives clinicians a much more complete view of a patient’s health status. With this information, clinicians can easily adjust medical care, as well as schedule phone calls or video chats with patients as necessary.

Bringing UMMC Resources Remotely to Citizens of Rural Mississippi
This type of “just-in-time” education can help avoid serious complications as well as develop long-lasting behavioral change. Clinicians also can see a snapshot of all patients under their care to help them better understand which patients need immediate support, making them more efficient and proactive. By using specialized tablet computers with mobile broadband access and cutting edge telehealth, the program is able to bring the resources and expertise of the state’s only academic medical center, UMMC, to citizens of rural Mississippi, rather than requiring them to travel to UMMC.

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