Local Community Group Wins Model eHealth Technology Award

  • Project Partners:
  • Lead Agency and Project Manager: Connecting to Care
  • Collaborating Partners: Tahoe Forest Health System’s Regional Cancer Center, Truckee, CA, Incline Village, NV
  • Eastern Plumas Health Care District, Portola, Indian Valley, Graeagle, Loyalton

 

Description of broadband dependent delivery of health applications advanced by this project:

The Sierra-Nevada Model eHealth Cancer Community project will leverage Tahoe Forest Health System’s comprehensive Cancer Center services to outlaying rural communities through their capacity to provide advanced information technology. This project will create streamlined, patient-friendly access to oncology consultations and follow-up ancillaries at the patient’s medical home community. These cancer eHealth services will bridge the distance between patients in rural and underserved areas with an oncologist and/or other health specialists such as palliative care or clinical psychiatry. This greatly reduces time and distance barriers for rural patients. Rural cancer patients will access enhanced quality of care serves using video and file transfer technology. Providers will be enabled to discuss and exchange information more quickly and efficiently. This will assist in the prevention, early detection, treatment and cure of cancer; and also rehabilitation in the management of cancer.

The Tahoe Forest Health System (TFHS) Cancer Center already uses technology to advance cancer cure in their community through the UC Davis Cancer Care Network program. Through the use of the Center’s Multiple Control Unit (MCU), other rural telehealth sites would benefit from connecting to continuing medical education, tumor conferences, grand rounds, case reviews, training and other eHealth services. The Cancer Center will work with UC Davis to add the project’s rural sites to the virtual tumor board project. The Cancer Center has the capability of reading and comparing diagnostic imaging studies and will provide this expertise to distant rural sites, allowing them to transmit their images to the Cancer Center for increased quality of care for cancer patients.

The outlaying rural sites have patients who are already accessing the Tahoe Forest Health System Cancer Center. This project will build on those relationships to improve the continuum of cancer care in the region allowing rural patients to receive many services via telehealth in their local communities rather than having to travel to the Cancer Center. The Tahoe Forest Health System Board of Directors and the Eastern Plumas Healthcare District Board of Directors are actively collaborating to improve access to services and care in the region across additional needed specialty care not available in Plumas and Sierra Counties.

Sierra-Nevada Model eHealth Cancer Community Project

“We are thrilled to be part of this important statewide initiative and it could not come at a better time,” said Susan Ferrier, Connecting to Care Executive Director. “The award not only enables us to enhance health access and quality care for residents throughout Nevada, Sierra and Plumas Counties, it is an honor to be recognized as an organization that can provide a model for innovations in health care that other communities can use in the future.” The grant project is entitled The Sierra-Nevada Model eHealth Cancer Community and increases access to care in Sierra, Nevada and Plumas Counties.

“We are excited to partner with Connecting to Care,” said Jana Katz-Bell, who is directing the project for UC Davis Health System. “It brings together a variety of community interests and represents exactly the model we need to help lead the way for others.Connecting to Care will pioneer new approaches in health care and ensure that California can integrate the latest health-related technologies in communities throughout the state.”

The Model eHealth Communities project and its related eHealth Broadband Training Program are funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). The initiative has received matching funds from the California HealthCare Foundation, National Coalition for Health Integration, University of California, and United Healthcare.

Coinciding with the Model eHealth Community awards is the launch of an online training curriculum specifically designed to support the transition to technology-enabled health and health care. The new online program, accessed through the eHealth Broadband Adoption Training website (http://ehealthtraining.extensiondlc.net/), offers courses in the following areas: California Telehealth Network Orientation, Broadband Adoption, Telehealth, Consumer and Clinical Health Informatics, Electronic Health Records/ Health Information Exchange Adoption, and Change Management.

Consumers also will benefit from the training program because its educational materials will be available in local libraries, community colleges and at community centers. Studies show that 85.7% of rural libraries are the only provider of free public computer and internet access in their communities. This grant will provide thirteen computers to the Nevada County Public Library system, the Sierra College Truckee Library and the Tahoe Truckee Cancer Center Resource Center. In addition to the training and educational materials, these computers will enable Nevada County residents to have free public access to eHealth resources, chronic disease management information and Personal Health Records (PHR). PHRs give consumers the ability to obtain and manage their own electronic health record which is entirely the property of the individual and not tethered to insurance or health facilities.

Connecting to Care received two Model eHealth Communities awards from UC Davis Health System and the California Telehealth Network (CTN) for its commitment to advancing health and health care using the latest in telecommunications technologies. The awards, part of more than $5 million in funding support to 15 community groups across California, are designed to assist communities in becoming best-practice examples in the use and integration of technology to improve health and health care for local residents.The award provides approximately $325,000 worth of eHealth technologies, telehealth equipment and specialized, community-based training and management to help local sites connect to and use the new broadband system now being established by the CTN.

For more information about the Model eHealth Communities program, visit the website.http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/cht/initiatives/BTOP/index.html

  • Connecting to Care
  • 120 No. Auburn Street, Suite 212
  • Grass Valley, CA 95945
  • Executive Director: Susan Ferrier
  • Board of Directors Chairperson: Elizabeth Mantle
  • Phone: 530-274-0292
  • Fax: 530-274-2900
  • Website: www.connectingtocare.org

Connecting to Care Wins Two Awards

Modoc County Model eHealth Community Project

“This award brings tremendous benefits for a hospital like ours,” said Wanda Grove, administrator for Modoc County’s Surprise Valley Community Hospital, located in a remote part of Northeastern California and considered to be the smallest hospital in the state. “It will enable us to expand and enhance our existing technologies in ways that complement everything from electronic medical records to distance learning.”  Grove, whose hospital will receive its telehealth equipment through the nonprofit organization Connecting to Care, added: “Without good and secure telemedicine connections, residents here have to travel a minimum of 3.5 hours to be seen by a specialist. If others can learn from our eHealth efforts here in Cedarville, then this award will benefit not only local residents but people around the state.”

“We are thrilled to be part of this important statewide initiative and it could not come at a better time,” said Susan Ferrier, Executive Director of Connecting to Care, the Lead Agency and Project Manager. “The award not only enables us to enhance health access and quality care for residents throughout Modoc County, it is an honor to recognized as an organization that can provide a model for innovations in health care that other communities can use in the future.”

As awardees, Canby Family Practice, Modoc County Mental Health, Modoc Medical Center, Strong Family Health Center, Surprise Valley Hospital District, Warner Mountain Tribal Clinic will all be implementing such diverse eHealth applications as remote specialty and critical care consultations between local health providers and specialists affiliated with academic medical centers; telemedicine health management; health education for consumers and continuing education for health-care professionals; as well as health-care workforce development programs. It is an initiative that will provide benefits well beyond just the 15 community groups who were awarded funding.

“We are excited to partner with Modoc County,” said Jana Katz-Bell, who is directing the project for UC Davis Health System. “It brings together a variety of community interests and represents exactly the model we need to help lead the way for others. Modoc County’s rural health providers will pioneer new approaches in health care and ensure that California can integrate the latest health-related technologies in communities throughout the state.”

Additionally, the Modoc County Public Library will receive two computers to allow county residents access to eHealth and chronic disease management information.  County residents will also have access to their personal health records (PHR) and the grant will provide community access to establishing their own PHR which is controlled entirely by the patient in regards to providing access to health providers and insurance companies.  Information will be coming on public informational meetings and workshops on developing your own Personal Health Record.

The Model eHealth Communities project and its related eHealth Broadband Training Program are funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. The initiative has received matching funds from the California HealthCare Foundation, National Coalition for Health Integration, University of California, and United Healthcare.

Coinciding with the Model eHealth Community awards is the launch of an online training curriculum specifically designed to support the transition to technology-enabled health and health care. The new online program, accessed through the eHealth Broadband Adoption Training website (http://ehealthtraining.extensiondlc.net/), offers courses in the following areas:  California Telehealth Network Orientation, Broadband Adoption, Telehealth, Consumer and Clinical Health Informatics, Electronic Health Records/ Health Information Exchange Adoption, and Change Management.

Consumers also will benefit from the training program because its educational materials will be available in local libraries, community colleges and at community centers.

For more information about the Modoc Model eHealth Communities program, please contact:

Susan Ferrier, Executive Director