Posted by: knightbird | September 22, 2010

Telecommunications and Lean Management

Chugachmiut just sent a team to visit the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation and learned about their telecommunications initiative, which is the most advanced in the state of Alaska. Rural Alaska is a very difficult place to travel in. There is no road connection from Anchorage to Bethel, and very few roads connecting the 51 Villages YKHC serves. Air travel is the only effective way of getting in and out of their Villages, and air travel is heavily impacted by weather. In the meantime, Village based staff need training, consultation services and exchange of medical information and services. Televideo is a key to effective provision of medical and behavioral health services for the future, and is being utilized now in limited ways.

Needless to say, travel is a significant cost for our Tribal Health Organizations. By developing capacity for synchronous training by Televideo, we have the capability of reducing travel costs. We also have significant needs for orienting and training employees, and are developing more training as a part of our Training Within Industry (TWI) initiative. We also have patients who, in the past, have been medevaced because a Physician could not see the symptoms being experienced by the patient. With a combination of Televideo and Telemedicine data, we can often make an informed decision that the medevac does not have to happen. So in addition to becoming able to avoid disrupting the Patient ‘s life with travel, we can achieve a good result using technology.

We appreciate the extraordinary hospitality that YKHC showed our team. As we do at Chugachmiut when we offer to share our Lean Management system, YKHC knows that we are all trying to provide the best patient care we can with limited resources in an extremely inhospitable environment. Thank you.

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