HEALTH IT AND HEALTH DISPARITIES

Patient Provider Telehealth Network – using telehealth to improve chronic disease management

Introduction
A Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) located in rural northeastern North Carolina, Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center (RCCHC) operates clinics in Ahoskie, NC, Colerain, NC, and Murfreesboro, NC. As one of the only health care providers in the area, RCCHC currently provides care to approximately 21,000 individuals, more than half of the patients in the service area. The RCCHC serves a primarily Black population (70%) with a high chronic disease burden and very low incomes.i Their service area includes four of the poorest counties in the nation. One program administrator estimated 20% of RCCHC patients live 100% below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL)ii and the majority of the patients served have no or inadequate insurance.

In 2006, RCCHC received Phase I grant funding from the NC Health and Wellness Trust Fund (HWTF) Health Disparities Initiative to conduct a three-year feasibility study of the center’s Patient Provider Telehealth Network (PPTN). The study sought to determine the impact of telehealth monitoring on clinical and financial outcomes for RCCHC’s patients with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hypertension. In 2008, the PPTN expanded to provide remote monitoring services to patients enrolled in Piedmont Health’s (Piedmont) PACE program (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly).

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