Computerized Screening brings critical health care for diabetes and obesity patients to rural Alaska

Sparks 20 August 2003The Inupiat Illitqusiat tribe of rural Northwest, Alaska can now pro-actively monitor and manage potentially life-threatening medical conditions with the installation of six Health Stations from Computerized Screening Inc. (CSI). In a collaborative outreach effort with the Maniilaq Health Center (MHC), CSI has enabled the area's 8000 residents to monitor blood pressure, as well as manage diabetes and obesity, two extremely prevalent conditions within the community. Advanced telehealth technology sends critical information to doctors at the MHC, the only health care facility within a 600-mile radius of this rural area.

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With only 15 doctors and 25 nurses at the MHC, there was a demonstrated need to provide the Inupiat Illitqusiat tribe with the ability to practise self-health maintenance. Dr. Jimmy Johnson, Ph.D., a retired military public health nurse at the MHC, learned about CSI's Health Stations during his military service.

"The lack of sufficient health care personnel is not an acceptable reason to deny these people proper health care", stated Dr. Johnson. "From many village locations, it may take days to reach the MHC, valuable time that may not be available to properly diagnose a serious illness. The CSI Health Stations enable the community members to monitor health problems, before they become life-threatening. Early intervention is critical to saving lives."

After the Health Stations are installed, customised instructions in the native language educate residents on the use of the devices. Short videos also feature village elders emphasising the importance of health maintenance and management. Additional educational benefits of the Health Station include a drug encyclopaedia and health-related videos.

Once training is completed, residents are able to monitor vital signs and automatically upload test results into individual Personal Medical Records (PMR) on the Health Station server. The PMR can then be accessed from any computer or Health Station. These records allow doctors to monitor patients' vital signs over time and assess when a critical problem merits a clinic visit.

"The use of advanced health screening technology, such as telehealth, significantly reduces risk factors associated with rural health care", stated Dr. Johnson. "The Health Station encourages participation in preventive care programmes, which ultimately reduces unnecessary patient transport. CSI has helped us address this prime concern by providing an efficient and cost-effective solution to the challenge of health care practice in remote locations."

Patented in 2001, CSI's proprietary blood pressure monitoring technology uses all three accepted, non-invasive measurement techniques: auscultatory or sound, oscillometric or pressure, and pattern identification, based on a 10-year MIT study. The system analyses 6500 samples to determine a single blood pressure result. CSI also holds patents for their Health Station's wheelchair accessibility, seated weight assessment device and the technological system that drives the co-ordinated features of the CSI Health Station.

"CSI is committed to providing preventive health screening technology to all populations in need", stated Charles Bluth, Founder and CEO of CSI. "We are proud to be an integral part of Dr. Johnson's outreach effort. Pro-active health management requires the creative strategies implemented by the MHC staff and advanced, user-friendly technology that can be used by the entire population. Together, we have created a valuable programme to provide the village with critical health care resources."

As CSI has grown and expanded over the past 25 years, its Health Stations have been placed in United States government facilities and at more than 3000 retail locations around the nation, including Dillons, Longs, Meijer, Publix, Price Chopper, Raley's, Randall's, Safeway and Save Mart. In addition, CSI has established relationships with hundreds of corporations around the country, including many Fortune 500 companies.

The centerpiece of CSI's health complement is the CSI Health Station, one-stop health information, and screening technology that features four patents. Included in these is a patent for the most accurate, non-invasive automated blood pressure measurement device in existence today. CSI was founded in 1978, with a mission to offer affordable, accurate blood pressure and heart rate testing in non-clinical settings. One billion tests have been performed in CSI's twenty-five years. More information on CSI is available in the VMW June 2003 article Patented blood pressure screening technology reduces hypertension risks for 50 million afflicted Americans.


Leslie Versweyveld

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