Georgia Partnership for TeleHealth has become one of the most robust, comprehensive networks in the nation. We have seen expansion to include nursing homes, school clinics, jails, clinics, ER’s, trauma, stroke, primary care, child advocacy, and continuing education. Legislation was passed to mandate that all payers must pay for telemedicine. The network now has over 350 partners and locations. We have seen clinical utilization climb exponentially. While January, 2006 we had a mere 8 encounters, we had over 25,000 encounters for 2010 and is expected to double in 2011. We now have over 175 specialists and healthcare providers, representing over 40 specialties, participating in the network. Providing access to healthcare via telemedicine has proven to cut costs on travel, work time and provides earlier access to care therefore preventing the large costs of untreated healthcare problems. The Georgia Telemedicine Program is proven. There is a widespread acceptance of its use in Georgia.
Georgia Partnership for TeleHealth is the leading agency in Georgia focusing on increasing access to healthcare through innovative use of technology including telemedicine, health information exchange and telehealth.
The statewide Georgia Telemedicine Program began in 2005 through a generous grant from WellPoint, Inc. Negotiations with Commissioner Oxendine for Anthem and WellPoint Merger resulted in the Commissioner Oxendine’s Rural Health Initiative and $100 million over the next 20 years in rural capital bonds and $11.5 Million over 3 years for a Statewide Telemedicine Program. The Georgia Partnership for TeleHealth, Inc. was formed in 2008 to continue the successes of the telemedicine program after Wellpoint’s 3 year commitment.
The Georgia Telemedicine Program was built based on advances in the continually evolving telecommunications and computer industries, and on successes and lessons learned from other Telemedicine programs. The hallmark of Georgia Telemedicine is the Open Access Network, which is a web of statewide access points based on strategic partnerships with successful existing Telemedicine programs, and the creation of new Telemedicine locations, to maximize opportunities for timely specialty services. When fully realized, the Program will enable all rural Georgians to access specialty care within 30 miles of their homes. Because there are so few specialist physicians in Georgia, the Telemedicine program implemented the Internal Program Collaboration Website to centralize scheduling of specialist consultations. By tracking open appointment times for panel specialists anywhere in the state, specialist consults via Telemedicine can now be requested and scheduled statewide in a matter of days or even hours, instead of weeks or months.
Georgia Partnership for TeleHealth has become one of the most robust, comprehensive networks in the nation. We have seen expansion to include nursing homes, school clinics, jails, clinics, ER’s, trauma, stroke, primary care, child advocacy, and…