Sunday, March 6, 2011

Telemedicine in Rural TX

The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School at the Permian Basin under the direction of Professor Stephen Ponder MD, recently conducted their first TTUHC-based “Diabetes Housecall”™. Dr. Ponder is a pediatric endocrinologist with extensive experience and has published publications on treating children and teens with Type 1 diabetes plus he has a decade of experience using telehealth strategies.

All “Housecall” patients co-managed with Dallas-based “healthimo”, provides all the necessary educational and technology support to conduct the program with minimal burden to Dr. Ponder and his staff.

When conducting the “Diabetes Housecall”, the patient and the family sit comfortably in their Lufkin, Texas, home while Dr. Ponder remains in his Odessa Texas clinic office. Using the “healthimo” technology platform and patient management services, the patient and family were able to see Dr. Ponder without the time and expense of travelling more than 1,000 miles roundtrip to treat the patient’s diabetes.

“This is all accomplished using the “ healthimo” technology that includes using the internet and other communication technologies allowing me to continually educate, monitor, and motivate my patients in their diabetes care without wasting time driving hours for each visit.”, said Dr Ponder.

An initial patient assessment is always done in person but established patients can continue to use home-based internet visits for follow-up care. However, the patients all get annual face-to-face care by the doctor. Each patient must have a local medical home to be eligible and must reside in the state of Texas.

For more information on “Diabetes Housecall”, email Johnnie Jones, at or call (432) 335-5119).

Diabetech, LP D/B/A “healthimo” recently submitted the report “Texas Medicaid Adult Type 2 Diabetes Pilot” to the State of Texas HHSC. The report authored by Kevin McMahon summarizes the pilot program. For more details, on the report, contact Kevin McMahon at (877)-844-3820.

Another project operating in rural Texas called “Project CHART” is using telemedicine to help deliver pediatric specialty care. TTUHC in their Telemedicine program are using Project CHART to deliver live pediatric specialty consultations for a child in Stratford Texas last August.

Project CHART funded by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission will over the next 26 months establish 29 additional sites to provide pediatric primary and specialty care to Medicaid enrolled children in rural communities throughout 108 of the most western counties in Texas.

The technology consists of a television linked to a security encrypted network that enables the patient to be presented by another physician or nurse from a remote location to a pediatric specialist located at one of the TTUHSC campuses. Thirty West Texas communities will be able to receive telemedicine equipment at no charge to the communities.

For more details on working with Project CHART, contact Debbie Voyles at (806) 743-4440.