Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Awarded Network Access Improvement Project

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC), in collaboration with the TTUHSC F. Marie Hall Institute for Rural and Community Health, Amerigroup and Grace Clinic Online, was awarded a Network Access Improvement Project (NAIP) focused on telemedicine education and delivery.

Through the NAIP project, a competency‐based telehealth certificate training program, known as Frontiers in Telemedicine provided by the F. Marie Hall Institutes for Rural and Community Health, will prepare care teams in the foundational elements necessary for conducting successful telehealth encounters. The program will provide a unique and robust training program to include online modules, simulation center learning and objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs) to focus on the essentials of telehealth clinical procedures, technology and business. Frontiers in Telemedicine will have the capacity to train 120 care team staff members during the first year of the NAIP project.

Furthermore, the collaborative effort will allow for TTUHSC and Grace Clinic Online clinicians to utilize the TTUHSC telemedicine network to provide better access to care for Amerigroup Medicaid recipients throughout West Texas.

“Telemedicine is one of the fastest growing aspects in the delivery of health care,” said Billy Philips Jr., M.D., executive vice president and director for the F. Marie Hall Institute for Rural and Community Health. “This project will allow patients better access to health care, but it will also provide health care professionals with the most-advanced educational preparation available in the field of telemedicine. We believe the standard of practice in telemedicine will be set by the standard of education, which is the Frontiers in Telemedicine Certificate Course.”

Frontiers in Telemedicine will include online modules, hands-on learning and simulation-based testing where health care professionals will demonstrate their mastery of competencies in this way of delivering care. The course will effectively train the workforce and provide live education that will debunk some myths about telemedicine technology.

Randy Hickle, M.D. chief executive officer and president of Grace Health System, said Grace Clinic Online is excited about partnering with TTUHSC, F. Marie Hall Institute for Rural and Community Health and Amerigroup to expand access to specialty care to Medicaid recipients in the West Texas region.

“We believe that by creating alignment between patients, payers and providers we can improve access, engage patients in self-care and improve utilization of health care resources while driving towards the ultimate goal; better health care outcomes for the patient,” Hickle said. “Currently, patients may wait several weeks before getting a needed appointment with a specialist. It’s been proven that earlier specialist consultations often result in better health care outcomes. Grace Clinic Online is proud to provide these consults via telemedicine where and when patients in West Texas need them.”

According to LeAnn Behrens, Amerigroup Texas president, the program will bring quality, more convenient care to rural residents.

“Through this collaboration, Amerigroup Texas is proud to bring innovative solutions that will help increase access to quality care for our members who reside in rural communities and ensure that they continue to live healthy lives,” Behrens said.

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