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Project ECHO launched to improve health access in rural Oklahoma

Darla Shelden Story by on April 11, 2017 . Click on author name to view all articles by this author. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences will host the OSU-CHS Rural Health Leadership Summit at the OSU Oklahoma City campus, 900 N. Portland, on April 12.
Government officials, tribal leaders, health care administrators, physicians, and educators will gather to explore ways to improve healthcare delivery and access in rural Oklahoma.  Due to the limited space the event is by invitation only.

According to a report by the United Health Foundation, Oklahoma ranks 46th in the nation in overall healthcare.

Two reasons for Oklahoma’s poor health status in rural areas are the shortage of primary care physicians and the lack of specialists, many who prefer to practice medicine in urban areas. Many tribal communities and small towns do not even have a primary care physician.

To help resolve this situation, OSU Center for Health Sciences has launched Project ECHO(Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), an innovative care model, to bring specialty medicine to rural areas of Oklahoma.

“We are examining the efficiency of the traditional model of healthcare delivery where the patient travels to the doctor’s office. Some rural Oklahomans may not have the time, money or car to travel to see a specialist in Tulsa or Oklahoma City. Project ECHO lets us flip the model and bring the care to the patient,” says Kayse Shrum, D.O., president of OSU Center for Health Sciences.

According to OSU’s website, ECHO uses video conferencing to help rural areas access experts in various fields in order to provide better patient care. “Unlike tele-medicine where a single provider can see a patient, ECHO is a tool for multiple providers to collaborate and make recommendations regardless of where they’re based.”

The OSU Center for Health Sciences recently launched its first ECHO with Psychiatry. Future ECHOs will focus on: Addiction Medicine, HIV/AIDS, Obesity Medicine and Women’s Health.

To address the problem of access to specialty care, Shrum has joined forces with Oklahoma legislators President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz, R-Altus; Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka; Senator Kim David, R-Porter; and Representative Leslie Osborn, R-Mustang.

During the summit, leaders will discuss healthcare issues facing their rural and tribal communities and how innovative solutions like Project ECHO can address them.

“We’re very excited about Project ECHO and how it can help improve health outcomes in rural Oklahoma,” said Dr. Johnny Stephens, chief operating officer at OSU Center for Health Sciences. 

”It’s is a great way to allow rural providers to gain access to specialty knowledge at OSU Center for Health Services,”

Featured speakers, panelists and moderators for the event include Secretary Chris Benge, Chief of Staff and Secretary of Native American Affairs; Dr. Judy Goforth Parker, Administrator, Chickasaw Nation Division of Health; Todd Hallmark, Executive Director of Health Operations, Choctaw Nation; and RADM Kevin Meeks, Acting Deputy Director of Field Operations, Indian Health Service.

Additional speakers include Dr. Doug Nolan, Medical Director, Cherokee Nation Diabetes Program; Natalie Shirley, President, OSU-OKC, and Secretary of Education and Workforce Development; Dr. Kayse Shrum, President, OSU Center for Health Sciences; Dr. Johnny Stephens, Chief Operating Officer, OSU Center for Health Sciences; and Shawn Terry, Secretary of Health, Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

Also speaking will be Dr. Jason Beaman, Director, OSU-CHS Psychiatry TeleECHO® Clinic: Dr. Crystal David, Clinical Pharmacist, OSU Center for Health Sciences; Dr. Joseph Johnson, Medical Director, OSU-CHS Project ECHO®; and Dr. Samuel Martin, Director, OSU-CHS Addiction Medicine TeleECHO® Clinic.

Benefits primary care providers will gain by participating in the OSU-CHS TeleECHO Clinics include:
•    Obtain knowledge from specialists
•    Obtain CME credit for participation
•    Advance knowledge to improve patient care
•    Engage with an expert team and collaborate with the ECHO community
•    Be able to provide psychiatric care in your own communities instead of referring long distances for specialized care

The conference will be available for live streaming beginning at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 12 at: www.ostate.tv.

The OSU Center for Health Sciences has launched Project ECHO(Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), an innovative care model, to bring specialty medicine to rural areas of Oklahoma. Photo provided.

The OSU Center for Health Sciences has launched Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), an innovative care model, to bring specialty medicine to rural areas of Oklahoma. Photo provided.

OSU’s Project ECHO uses video conferencing to help rural areas access experts in various fields in order to provide better patient care. Photo provided.

OSU’s Project ECHO uses video conferencing to help rural areas access experts in various fields in order to provide better patient care. Photo provided.

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