Posted: Sunday, September 11, 2011
ACCEL (Access El Dorado), a countywide community collaborative, received the Model eHealth Communities’ award from UC Davis Health System and the California Telehealth Network (CTN). The $350,000 award is part of more than $5 million in funds supporting 15 community groups across California and is designed to assist communities in becoming best-practice examples in the use and integration of technology to improve healthcare for local residents.
The award will provide funding for eHealth technologies, telehealth equipment, specialized community-based training and management to help El Dorado County healthcare facilities connect to and use a new, off internet, broadband system now being implemented by CTN.
To apply for the Broadband Adoption Model eHealth Communities Award, all applicants had to have at least three telehealth site partners. Awardees span 26 counties in rural, urban, suburban regions, as well areas in Northern, Central and Southern California – some so remote that they are termed “frontier” regions. Special consideration was given to applicants who addressed the needs of vulnerable populations, including older adults, at-risk youth and children.
Barton Health, which has supported the efforts of ACCEL for several years, will be a lead agency partner for El Dorado County in the CTN program. Barton has invested in the information technology infrastructure and started providing telehealth services early through its community clinic.
“We are thrilled to be part of this important statewide initiative and it could not come at a better time,” said Dr. Gregory Bergner, physician champion for the ACCEL project, Barton Health Board member and urgent care physician. “The award not only enables us to enhance health access and quality care for residents throughout El Dorado County, but it is an honor to be recognized as an organization that can provide a model for innovations in healthcare that other communities can use in the future.”
El Dorado’s ACCEL will be implementing diverse eHealth applications such as remote specialty and critical care consultations between local health providers and specialists affiliated with academic medical centers; health education for consumers and continuing education for health care professionals, as well as healthcare workforce development programs. These initiatives will provide benefits beyond the 15 community groups who were awarded. “This grant will strengthen El Dorado County’s health IT infrastructure, facilitating information sharing and more efficient, high quality care for county residents,” shares ACCEL Program Manager, Christine Sison. “We are ready to get started on this important project for our community.”
“We are excited to partner with ACCEL,” said assistant dean for interprofessional programs at UC Davis School of Medicine and at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing in Sacramento, and director of the new eHealth project. “It brings together a variety of community interests and represents exactly the model we need to help lead the way for others. ACCEL will pioneer new approaches in healthcare and ensure that California can integrate the latest health-related technologies in communities throughout the state.”
The Model eHealth Communities project and its related eHealth Broadband Training Program are funded by the United States Department of Commerce’ Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. The initiative has received matching funds from the California HealthCare Foundation, National Coalition for Health Integration, University of California and UnitedHealthcare.
Coinciding with the Model eHealth Community awards is the launch of an on-line training curriculum specifically designed to support the transition to technology-enabled health and healthcare. The new on-line program, accessed through http://ehealthtraining.extensiondlc.net/ offers courses in the following areas: California Telehealth Network Orientation, Broadband Adoption, Telehealth, Consumer and Clinical Health Informatics, Electronic Health Records, Health Information Exchange Adoption and Change Management.
The educational materials will be available to consumers in local libraries, community colleges and at community centers. For more information about the Model eHealth Communities program, visit www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/cht/initiatives/BTOP/index.html.
ACCEL is a partnership between the El Dorado County Health Services Department, Barton Health (with affiliated medical providers and rural clinic), Marshall Medical Center (with affiliated medical providers and rural clinic), El Dorado County Community Health Center, Shingle Springs Tribal Health Program and Western Sierra Medical Center. For more information please visit www.acceledc.org