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June 2016     
HTRC's monthly telehealth bulletin

Heartland Telehealth Resource Center is here to meet your telehealth needs. We are a government-sponsored organization serving Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, with a wide range of services, and many of them are free. Email us at or call us at 877-643-HTRC.

Telepresenter tips from a telehospitalist

The latest HTRC video features Dr. Robert Rader, the Chief of Staff at St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City.  Dr. Rader discusses some frequently overlooked tips  to consider when telepresenting. 

Watch the video to learn three simple ways you can easily improve your telepresenting skills. 

Want to learn more about Show-me ECHO from the comfort of your own office? Tune into the free Show-me ECHO 101 Webinar to learn everything you need to know about the ECHO program and participate in a Q&A with the Missouri Telehealth Network. The next webinar will be on June 22 from 12 noon - 1 p.m. 

June 23rd 

This free networking event will focus on ransomware attacks, which are the latest cyber scams on the web. At the conference you will learn about the different products available to protect your technical environment from an intruder, as well as the latest trends in HITsecurity. Sponsored by CDW Healthcare and PhishMe.

July 21st 

Every month the TRCs present a topic of current interest in telehealth.  Register today and join us on the third Thursday of every month!  The next webinar will be presented by SCTRC.

August 27-28

The annual mHIT conference brings national experts on health care informatics and telemedicine to the Midwest to discuss the current state of the industry, and cultivate strategies for empowering and engaging organizations.


Missouri's war on melanoma

Summer is in full swing with many Missourians working and playing in the sun. Unfortunately, living far from a dermatologist, as many rural Missourians do, can delay the detection of the melanomas the summer sun can cause. In fact, according to research published in JAMA Dermatology, the further a person lives from a dermatologist, the greater his or her risk of dying from skin cancer after being diagnosed. But a telehealth mentoring program in Missouri is working to change that disparity.
Show-Me ECHO, a project managed by the Missouri Telehealth Network (MTN), uses dermatologists and other experts to teach specialty skills to primary care providers in Missouri, often in underserved rural areas. The dermatology team meets via videoconference and is led by Karen Edison, M.D.
In a presentation at the Missouri Telehealth Summit earlier this year, Edison explained that primary care providers are well-positioned to detect dermatological problems including skin cancer. According to Edison, 20 to 25 percent of primary care office visits are dermatology related.
Telemedicine makes things easier for recent heart transplant patients in Wichita

Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institutes ' Heart Transplant Program is one of the best in the country. The program is the only active adult heart transplant center in Kansas, and according to the  United Network for Organ Sharing  it has consistently been ranked as one of the top 10 heart transplant centers in America.

Since Saint Luke's is the only heart transplant
center in the area, patients from all over the Heartland travel there to receive care. In addition to traveling to Saint Luke's for the actual transplant surgery, patients typically have to visit the clinic every two to four weeks prior to surgery, and every week following their surgery.

Eventually the frequency of visits is reduced, but even decades after a heart transplant, patients are still expected to have checkups every six months. For transplant patients in Wichita, that means driving almost three hours each way for their checkups. A new plan by Saint Luke's looks to reduce this constant travel.

In order to make the pre and post-op care for transplant recipients more convenient, Saint Luke's has partnered with their  Kidney Transplant clinic  in Wichita, Kan. to offer these services remotely through the use of traveling cardiologists and telemedicine.

Kiosks poised to improve mental health in central Kansas

In total, Pawnee County in collaboration  with   The Center for Counseling &    purchased 11 menta l health screening kiosks. The kiosks can anonymously screen for depression, generalized anxiety, bipolar, post-traumatic stress and eating and alcohol-use disorders in as little as two minutes. After completing the screening, individuals receive feedback on their symptoms, including recommendations for mental health consultations, and local treatment resources available to them.

In 2013, the suicide rate in Kansas was 16.7% higher than the national average
according to the Kansas Suicide Prevention Resource Center. Proponents of the kiosks believe that by providing easier access to mental health screenings, they will be able to reduce the suicide rate and help prevent other mental health and substance abuse issues.

A kiosk will be placed in the health departments of Barton, Pawnee, Rice and Stafford counties. The remaining seven kiosks will rotate between hospitals, family crisis centers, libraries, middle schools and high schools in the area.


The VA announces plans to expand telemental health services around the country
The HTRC has previously reported on the  Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) commitment to implement telemedicine  and their  collaboration with the University of Kansas  to utilize telemental health. At last month's American Telemedicine Association annual conference (ATA) in Minneapolis, the VA announced plans to further expand their use of telemental health services across the country.

When we first reported on the VA in 2012, they had served approximately 500,000 patients using telemedicine that year. In 2015, that number grew to 677,000 veterans, representing up to 12 percent of all veterans who receive care through the VA.

According to the VA's Chief Executive Director Dr. David Shulkin, these telemedicine programs have reduced days spent in bed by 56 percent, readmissions by 32 percent, and total psychiatric admissions by 35 percent. Veterans are happy with the telemedicine services they receive as well, with total telemedicine satisfaction around 89 percent.

"We are in the midst of the largest transformation in the history of VA with MyVA, which means we are reorienting what we do around the needs of our Veterans and providing care when, how, and where they want to receive that care." Shulkin stated when speaking to the audience at the ATA.
Project ECHO

Project ECHO is a program using telemedicine to revolutionize medical education and improve access to specialty care. Project ECHO, which was developed by the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, works by connecting primary care clinicians with specialist teams via videoconference.  Each specialty area has its own ECHO, such as autism or chronic pain. ECHO teams meet regularly to hear cases from providers and make recommendations.

Heartland Telehealth Resource Center | | 
 4330 Shawnee Mission Parkway   Fairway, KS 66205