Regional Obstetrical Consultants
Project Title: Solutions to
Obstetrics in Rural Counties (STORC)
Synopsis: Chattanooga's STORC program increases prenatal services for high-risk
pregnancies in rural communities.
Program Representative Interviewed: Josie Compton,
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Program Overview: STORC is an arm of Regional Obstetrical Consultants (ROC), based
in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Developed in 2008, the goal of STORC is to provide specialist care in
rural communities so that high-risk pregnant mothers are able to receive prenatal care and give birth
in their local communities. STORC operates under the belief that when mothers receive necessary
intervention early, local doctors can manage many high-risk conditions in pregnancy. To this end,
expectant mothers receive general prenatal care from their local providers and STORC provides high-tech,
high-touch complementary care. A sonographer and advanced practice care provider travel to rural
communities and provide in-person
care while mothers receive telehealthcare from physicians specializing in maternal fetal medicine located in
Chattanooga. STORC personnel travel with all necessary equipment to deliver care.
STORC currently serves 11 rural sites in Tennessee and Georgia. Practitioners visit two to three rural
day and 50,000 visits have been conducted to date. The furthest clinic served by STORC is 100 miles from
Chattanooga. While originally based on the UAMS IDHI High-Risk Pregnancy Program (formerly the ANGELS
model), STORC has made considerable alterations and innovations, becoming its own replicable model. UAMS
IDHI High-Risk Pregnancy Program
founder Dr. Curtis Lowery and his team were genuine partners in assisting with implementation.
In 2018, 90% of women with high-risk pregnancies who received care from STORC gave birth
in their local hospital. 81% of pregnancies were carried to 37 weeks or longer, and only 11% of
infants required care administered in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. This is in a setting of only
high-risk referred patients.
Considerations for implementing a model such as STORC include:
Having a reliable broadband network through which telehealth can be administered. Additionally, if
services are provided across state lines, the telehealth network will need to expand to include
interstate providers. This process can be cumbersome, as each state has unique processes in place
for joining networks.
Having buy-in from the local hospital is necessary, as local care providers will be working
with STORC providers and use of the lab may be necessary.
IT support from STORC will need to work with IT from the local clinic or hospital to set up
a HIPAA-compliant VPN network, allowing for telehealth services and medical records to be
Office and clinical space are necessary to provide care in the rural communities. This
space may be located at the hospital or clinic or it may be located in an entirely different
Insurance company recruitment to join the telehealth network. This may be a challenge, as
this type of complementary care is not a well-known service. Having a champion in the sales
department can help.
A May 2018 podcast recording from Blue Cross Blue Shield, Using
Telemedicine to Improve Rural Women's Health and Save Babies' Lives, provides more information on STORC.
Read about the UAMS IDHI High-Risk Pregnancy Program (the model upon which
STORC is built) in
RHIhub's Rural Health Models and Innovations.
Models represented by this program: