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Telehealth project tackles diabetes in Mississippi Delta

January 28, 2014
by Richard R. Rogoski
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In the rural Mississippi Delta, more than 12 percent of the adult population has diabetes. An 18-month pilot project, named the Diabetes Telehealth Network, has been launched to provide diabetes management services for those who live in the region, many if whom live in remote locations. 

The public-private partnership, which will share the estimated $1.6 million cost of the project, includes the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), North Sunflower Medical Center, GE Healthcare, Intel-GE Care Innovations and C Spire Wireless.

Diabetics participating in the network will be able to provide physicians at UMMC with their daily glucose and blood pressure levels and then video-chat with a clinician via specialized tablet computers running the Intel-GE Care Innovations platform and with a mobile broadband connection.

According to a UMMC press release, the program will begin recruiting up to 200 patients in Sunflower County this spring, with plans to expand it to other parts of the state. "We know that diabetes is one of the foremost chronic diseases in Mississippi,” said Dr. Kristi Henderson, director of telehealth at UMMC. "We will bring UMMC's specialists, including the pharmacist, the diabetic educator, the nurse, the endocrinologist and the ophthalmologist, to the Mississippi Delta through this technology. We will be able to provide interactive video consults, deliver patient education and engage with the patient daily to meet their needs. Until now, this type of coordinated care that engages the patient in their home setting was simply not an option."