NM/HA-Telehealth Project for Chronically Ill in Underserved Areas

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New Mexico' s telehealth Project ECHO (Extension for Community Health Care Outcomes) could become a national model for serving chronically ill patients in underserved areas. Health Affairs reported that the program addresses a Hepatitis C problem in the state, where less than five percent of individuals with the disease were receiving treatment. The project uses telehealth technology along side clinical tools to help primary care providers, in areas where specialty care was previously unavailable, develop the skills and expertise they need to treat diseases not usually considered within their scope of practice. The project has been expanded to offer care for other chronic conditions, including asthma, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.