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Professor Receives Grant From Center For Rural Pennsylvania

C.J. RhoadsFeb. 2, 2012

Kutztown University associate professor of business administration, Dr. Chris "CJ" Rhoads has received a grant from the Center for Rural Pennsylvania to examine telehealth services and practices in rural Pennsylvania, and provide policy considerations to the PA State Legislature based on the findings.

Rhoads has gathered a team of experts in the field to work on the project, which will last the entire year (2012) and will investigate what telemedicine and telehealth projects, if any, are going on in Pennsylvania rural counties. The grant has provided $50,000 in funding.

Telemedicine is when the doctors, nurses, or hospitals are treating the patient somewhere else either by measuring body functions remotely or providing health consults and examinations over a video conferencing link.  Telehealth is a broader term which also includes providing education, support groups, and exercise programs via videoconferencing and webconferencing links.  The project includes a component that surveys doctors and nurses on their opinions of any telehealth projects in which they might have been involved.  Rhoads' team will also be interviewing several hospitals, medical associations, health networks, insurance companies, telehealth technology vendors and other constituents involved in the issues concerning telehealth.

Rhoads will document the state of technology, as well as impacts, costs, reimbursement practices, outcomes, benefits and barriers related to telehealth practices in rural countries.  Of main importance to the legislature may be Rhoads assessment of how the changing technology will impact the costs and quality of healthcare in the commonwealth over the next decade, as well as what risks exist as the new technologies are utilized more and more.  The final report should be released sometime in 2013.

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