New Mississippi Program to Connect Rural Diabetics with Specialists via Telehealth

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In 2010, more than 12 percent of adults in the Mississippi Delta region had type 2 diabetes, and 293 died that year from diabetes-related complications. A new program launched by Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant (R) aims to improve diabetes treatment in the region using telehealth technology.

Gov. Bryant has partnered with the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, North Sunflower Medical Center in Ruleville, GE Healthcare, Intel-GE Care Innovations and C Spire to offer diabetics in this historically underserved region timely access to UMMC physicians.

Launching this spring, the 18-month program will provide 200 patients recruited by North Sunflower Medical Center with tablets equipped with software for sharing daily health data, such as weight and glucose levels, with UMMC physicians. This information will help physicians monitor the patients' health and adjust treatment regimes and schedule teleconferencing visits as necessary.

"We will bring UMMC's specialists, including the pharmacist, the diabetic educator, the nurse, the endocrinologist and the ophthalmologist, to the Mississippi Delta through this technology," said Kristi Henderson, DNP, director of UMMC's telehealth program, in a news release. "We will be able to provide interactive video consults, deliver patient education and engage with the patient daily to meet their needs."

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