Telehealth news from the Kansas, Missouri & Oklahoma

January 29, 2018

American Heart Month: Remote patient monitoring and heart health
Keeping hearts healthy is the focus of February’s American Heart Month, and telehealth is well-positioned to lend a hand. Digital stethoscopes and mobile echocardiograms make it easier for cardiologists to diagnose and treat patients in remote regions. Additionally, patient monitoring devices can collect and relay actionable data from a patient’s home to health care providers in real time. But like many other specialties, cardiology and stroke care are both victims of the unrequited love between telehealth potential and telehealth policy.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and experts have predicted a shortage of cardiologists in the next decade that will affect rural areas the most. The American Heart Association stresses the vital role telehealth can play in reducing morbidity and mortality from the disease by alleviating the maldistribution. These underserved areas have the potential to benefit greatly from telecardiology and telestroke care, but they are often the least equipped with technology and training.

In order for telecardiology and telestroke services to be effective, the AHA emphasizes that “programs need timely data, appropriate staff and a feedback loop to patients with sufficient empowerment to understand and implement instructions.” Remote patient monitoring (RPM) devices are promising tools to fit these needs in prevention, emergency care and transitional care. In one study, an RPM transitional care program for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart failure patients reduced 30-day hospital readmissions by 50 percent when compared to the control group.

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RPA Rural woRx Blog

January 28, 2018

From time to time, the RPA Project will disseminate original blogs posts and briefs from people and organizations with deep rural commitments. Today’s Rural woRx Blog is from Kate Kraft, Executive Director for America Walks, the “only national organization devoted exclusively to making America a great place to walk.” Kate’s blog post details some of the opportunities for us to help rural communities get moving! See the link below:

Kate Kraft’s RuralwoRx Blog post:

February Educational Webinars

January 29, 2018

Managing Endometriosis in the Rural Primary Care Setting

Endometriosis is a debilitating condition affecting up to 1 in 10 women in the United States. Delays in diagnosis and misdiagnosis are common, and optimal symptom control is challenging, given the limitations of current treatments. Women living in rural areas may be particularly at risk for poor health outcomes due to reduced access to care and a limited number of health care providers. Often, they turn to their primary care provider for evaluation and treatment. In this online CME activity, expert faculty will discuss strategies to improve the diagnosis and management of endometriosis, specifically in the rural primary care practice setting. This case-based program will review the latest advances in diagnosis, the efficacy and limitations of available and emerging treatments, and evidence-based strategies for delivering individualized care to patients with endometriosis.

Learning Objectives:

  • After completing this activity, participants should be better able to:
  • Identify signs and symptoms of endometriosis as well as strategies to improve its timely diagnosis.
  • Develop patient-centered treatment plans for women with endometriosis, based on individual drug characteristics and personal preferences.
  • Describe the role of surgery for endometriosis and the need for ongoing medical management to prevent disease recurrence

Register Today

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Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

January 25, 2018

What’s New

DEA Broadens Access to Drug Treatment.  On Tuesday, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced a change in regulation designed to increase access to Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction in rural areas.  Under the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), prescribing authority for long-term use of buprenorphine, the drug used in outpatient addiction treatment, was expanded in 2016 to include qualified nurse practitioners and physician assistants.  In the same year, CARA also gave authority to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to increase the maximum number of patients that a qualified practitioner may treat from 100 to 275.  This week’s action by the DEA incorporates those changes into its regulations for the Controlled Substances Act and is intended to increase access to treatment in rural areas.  Research has shown that more than half of rural counties had no DEA waivered physicians in 2016.  Rural physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants can get no-cost MAT waiver training online from the Providers’ Clinical Support System.

Rural Health  Research

Rural Health Research 2017 Year in Review.  As noted above, the HRSA/FORHP-funded Rural Health Research Gateway published a report last year on the number of rural physicians prescribing buprenorphine.  The report was one of 16 peer-reviewed articles from 2017 on subjects ranging from the decline of obstetric services in rural counties to predicting financial distress and closure in rural hospitals .  Sign up for email alerts on the Gateway website to see research as soon as it’s released in 2018.

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