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Rural Project Examples: Telehealth

Evidence-Based Examples

ANGELS: Antenatal & Neonatal Guidelines, Education and Learning System
Updated/reviewed August 2017
  • Need: Arkansas had high rates of low birthweight babies, and women in rural areas had difficulty accessing specialty obstetric care.
  • Intervention: The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences created the ANGELS telemedicine program to increase access to care for pregnant rural women in an effort to improve outcomes for high-risk pregnancies.
  • Results: ANGELS has increased access to care and reduced infant mortality for rural Arkansas women through a variety of programs and has been recognized by various organizations as a model program.
Project ECHO® – Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes
Updated/reviewed July 2017
  • Need: To increase the capacity for more effective treatment of chronic, complex conditions in rural and underserved communities.
  • Intervention: Through a specially-designed project, remote primary care providers work with academic specialists as a team to manage chronic conditions of rural patients, expanding remote providers’ knowledge base through shared case studies.
  • Results: Patient management and care provided by rural providers through ongoing education and mentoring from Project ECHO® has proved as effective as treatment provided by specialists at a university medical center.
Project ENABLE (Educate, Nurture, Advise Before Life Ends)
Added May 2017
  • Need: To enhance palliative care access to rural patients with advanced cancer and their family caregivers.
  • Intervention: Project ENABLE consists of: 1) an initial in-person palliative care consultation with a specialty-trained provider and 2) a semi-structured series of weekly, phone-delivered, nurse-led coaching sessions designed to help patients and their caregivers enhance their problem-solving, symptom management, and coping skills.
  • Results: Patients and caregivers report lower rates of depression and burden along with higher quality of life.
Telepsychology-Service Delivery for Depressed Elderly Veterans
Added December 2016
  • Need: To treat depression in elderly veterans who are unable to seek mental health treatment due to distance or stigma.
  • Intervention: Telepsychology-Service Delivery for Depressed Elderly Veterans compared providing behavioral activation therapy via telehealth and face-to-face for those with major depressive disorder.
  • Results: A 2015 study and two 2016 studies show that providing treatment via telehealth to elderly veterans in South Carolina resulted in the same health outcomes, quality of life, satisfaction with care, and cost of healthcare as those receiving face-to-face treatment.

Effective Examples

funded by the Health Resources Services Administration New Mexico Mobile Screening Program for Miners
Updated/reviewed December 2017
  • Need: To increase access to medical screening for miners in New Mexico.
  • Intervention: A mobile screening clinic with telemedicine capability screens miners for respiratory and other conditions.
  • Results: In a recent survey, 92% of miners reported their care as very good, while the other 8% reported it as good. Since 1989, the program has served 6,685 miners.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Madison Outreach and Services through Telehealth (MOST) Network
Updated/reviewed November 2017
  • Need: More mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment services in rural Texas.
  • Intervention: A network was formed to bring counseling services through telehealth systems and community health workers to Brazos Valley, Texas.
  • Results: The program improved health outcomes, increased general knowledge of the impact of substance abuse, and raised awareness of services among Hispanic residents.
Avera eCARE
Updated/reviewed September 2017
  • Need: Rural hospitals and healthcare providers have less access to specialty care support.
  • Intervention: A service was created at Avera Health that provides 24-hour virtual access to specialty care physicians, nurses and pharmacists.
  • Results: Rural patients can receive specialty care without leaving their communities, and rural healthcare providers can get needed support in providing quality care to their patients.
Children's Mercy Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Telemedicine
Added August 2017
  • Need: To increase access to an allergy/asthma/immunology specialist for children in rural Kansas and Missouri.
  • Intervention: Children's Mercy Kansas City offers a telemedicine option for allergy/asthma/immunology visits.
  • Results: In 2017, Children's Mercy had 338 encounters from patients in rural counties. Patients and their families report satisfaction with the telemedicine visits, which a six-month study found to be as effective as in-person visits.
HEALTH-COP Obesity Prevention
Updated/reviewed August 2017
  • Need: Many physicians want to help rural children who are overweight or obese develop healthy lifestyles, and these physicians would benefit from receiving training on specific ways to instruct, motivate, and manage the healthcare of these children.
  • Intervention: A virtual learning network called Healthy Eating Active Living TeleHealth Community of Practice (HEALTH-COP) was created to educate rural physicians and provide peer support.
  • Results: Studies showed an increase in health and wellness topics covered by physicians during children's clinic visits. This likely contributed to healthier eating habits and more active lifestyles that were found when these children were reassessed 3 months later.
Rural Telemental Health (RTMH) Program
Added July 2016
  • Need: To provide high-quality mental healthcare to rural veterans.
  • Intervention: The Rural Telemental Health (RTMH) program, stationed at the Portland VA Medical Center, reaches rural veterans in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington via telehealth.
  • Results: From 2010 to 2013, 1,754 veterans received diagnoses, therapy, medication management, and other mental health services.