Population Health Insights

Mississippi Telehealth Network Could Be FCC’s Model for RPM Expansion


Back in 2014, the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) collaborated with a network of local and national health technology leaders to build the Mississippi Diabetes Telehealth Network, an effort to extend quality care into rural and underserved regions with high rates of chronic illness.

Built upon the Care Innovations® Health Harmony remote patient management (RPM) platform, the Mississippi diabetes telehealth network has accumulated an impressive assortment of accolades in the years since. Today, it’s widely regarded as a model of how to leverage telehealth and RPM technology to extend care into remote areas.

"Few other states have utilized telehealth as a patient care access tool the way Mississippi has,” as Xtelligent Media’s Sara Heath notes in an overview of UMMC’s telehealth success. “The remote patient monitoring program has improved medication adherence and decreased Hemoglobin A1C numbers for patients with diabetes” and “has also cut hundreds of thousands of dollars in healthcare costs.”

More key milestones achieved by the Mississippi diabetes telehealth network within its first year and first 100 patients include:

  • 7% average A1C reduction
  • No rehospitalizations or visits to the emergency department
  • A monthly cost savings of more than $28,000

Outcomes from the Mississippi Diabetes Telehealth Network

“We knew the results would be impactful for our patients, but we just didn’t know it would be this impactful,” UMMC’s Dr. Kristi Henderson stated in a news release. “Care Innovations has been an invaluable ally. Their unmatched expertise contributed immensely in surpassing our initial measurements of success, proving that this model of care is feasible to implement and can generate savings quickly.”

Mississippi Telehealth Network ‘Leading the Way’

Another milestone may soon be added to the list, as it’s being reported that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is eyeing the UMMC telehealth network as a potential model for the expansion of a federal telehealth network focused on expanding RPM access into rural and remote communities.

Back in July, the agency and Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker proposed the $100 million Connected Care Pilot Program, designed to “support telehealth and telemedicine programs for underserved populations, including remote patient monitoring programs that have shown past success in treating rural patients with diabetes and veterans,” as Eric Wicklund reported at mHealthIntelligence.com.

“Mississippi has been leading the way,” Sen. Wicker and FCC member Brendan Carr said in an op-ed for the Clarion-Ledger. “I saw this firsthand when I visited Mississippi six months ago and learned about a remote patient monitoring trial that improved outcomes for diabetes patients living in the rural Mississippi Delta,” Carr added in a news release issued by the FCC.

“The Mississippi Delta trial resulted in nearly $700,000 in annual savings due to reductions in hospital readmissions alone,” as per the FCC news release. “Assuming just 20% of Mississippi’s diabetic population enrolled in this program, Medicaid savings in the state would be $189 million per year.”

‘The Trend is Towards Connected Care Everywhere’

So successful has the Mississippi telehealth network been that it’s one of only two locations in the U.S. to receive a Telehealth Center of Excellence designation. And because of that designation, the network “will now serve as a model as the Federal Communications Commission hopes to cast a wider net and better serve low-income individuals in rural areas,” reports Courtney Ann Jackson at MSNewsNow.

“Telemedicine is no longer just about enabling connectivity among traditional brick-and-mortar healthcare facilities,” note Carr and Sen. Wicker in their op-ed. “Remote patient monitoring and mobile health applications that Americans can access on their smartphones or tablets while at home or work are part of a new and seamless way of delivering cost-effective, direct-to-consumer healthcare.”

“The trend is towards connected care everywhere,” they add. “Programs like remote patient monitoring could reduce costly readmission rates to the emergency room and decrease Medicare penalties to rural hospitals,” they add.

Discover more about the RPM technology and expertise that powers the Mississippi Diabetes Telehealth Network: Contact Care Innovations to schedule a complimentary consultation with a remote care expert.

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