The Oklahoma State Senate and House of Representatives have designated April 13, 2017, as Rural Healthcare Day at the Oklahoma State Capitol and commended Project ECHO™ (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), an innovative and collaborative model of healthcare delivery.
“We are extremely proud the Oklahoma State Legislature has recognized OSU Center for Health Sciences for our leadership in implementing the Project ECHO™ model in Oklahoma. Rural communities that weren’t able to access specialty care like mental health services and addiction treatment will now be able to do so through Project ECHO,” said Kayse Shrum, D.O., President of the OSU Center for Health Sciences and Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Rural areas of Oklahoma suffer from a physician shortage, both in terms on primary care physicians and specialty care physicians. Those who do seek medical care often have difficulty finding a doctor. Nearly all of our seventy-seven Oklahoma counties have a primary care physician shortage. With over half of rural primary care physicians fifty five or older, the shortages are expected to worsen.
Project ECHO™ will dramatically increase specialty care capacity in rural Oklahoma. It is a form of medical video-conferencing that connects rural health care providers with medical experts at the OSU Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa. Unlike tele-medicine where a single provider can see a patient, ECHO is a tool for multiple providers to collaborate and make recommendations and share knowledge local doctors need to treat patients with complex conditions.
The resolution cite, “Project ECHO dramatically increases access to specialty treatment in rural and underserved areas by providing front-line clinicians with the knowledge and support they need to manage patients with complex conditions.”
“We currently have ECHO clinics in psychiatry, obesity, addiction medicine, and HIV/AIDS. Future lines will include women’s health. We are honored and humbled by the public support of the Oklahoma State Senate and the Oklahoma State House of Representatives for OSU Center for Health Sciences’ efforts in making a difference in the healthcare of rural Oklahomans through Project ECHO,” said Dr. Shrum.