Polycom demonstrates diabetes telehealth care programme in Delta Diabetes Project

Pleasanton 07 June 2005Capitol Hill lawmakers are getting a glimpse of the benefits teleconferencing can bring to medicine in a presentation of the Delta Diabetes Project, a joint programme between the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center (UTHSC) and the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) to help aid in the prevention and treatment of diabetes in the Mississippi Delta. The successful telehealth project has utilized videoconferencing technology solutions from Polycom Inc., a provider of unified collaborative communications solutions, providing care to 3000 patients in the Delta to date. Since 2000, Memphis-based UTHSC has used Polycom's solutions to support clinical visits and provide clinical teaching and patient and provider education for the programme.


The Capitol Hill presentation is providing a demonstration of the Delta Diabetes pilot programme, which will include a total of three health care sites within the next year. The live demo is taking place over Polycom's award-winning VSX 7000 Practitioner Cart to deliver TV-like video and near-CD quality StereoSurround sound as it connects Capitol Hill to the Delta Diabetes project.

The pilot programme was set up in June of 2004 at two clinical sites: Delta Regional Medical Center (DRMC) in Greenville, Mississippi, and UMMC in Jackson, Mississippi. The programme joined UTHSC's telehealth programme with a pilot clinical diabetes management programme from UMMC. Five hundred visits a month at UMMC and one hundred visits per month at Greenville have improved all diabetic outcomes significantly. The reach of the programme and high quality of care has far exceeded national and Mississippi norms.

"The addition of telehealth connectivity has proven to be of great benefit to the outcomes and sustainability of the programme results, significantly improving the health status of diabetics and easing the burden of projecting university medical centre teaching and expertise into a site 150 miles away from both institutions", stated Karen Fox, Ph.D. assistant dean for University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center. "The results of the Greenville pilot project have been a resounding success to date, duplicating or improving upon all outcomes of the standard diabetic care model and far exceeding the outcomes of local Delta care."

The partnership of these two institutions is to establish and continue to build a sustainable evidence-based regional collaborative model for the prevention of diabetes and its complications. The collaboration has greatly enhanced the deliverables in each of these areas, capitalizing on telehealth's well-known abilities to educate, provide critical patient-provider communication and expand access to care.

The Delta Diabetes Partnership is a large-scale collaborative disease management intervention which is implementing an integrated diabetes management network for the Mississippi Delta, the poorest region of the poorest state, with extremely high measures of health disparities, diabetes, all diabetes complications, and the worst quality of care measures in diabetes in the country. This collaborative is a partnership between the University of Tennessee (UT), the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), and the Delta Health Alliance (DHA), representing the major health care, community, and local health care provider interests of the Mississippi Delta.

The intervention consists of a clinical care model developed by UMMC supported, augmented, and disseminated by telemedicine technology supplied by UTHSC. The fundamental hypothesis is that projecting university medical centre teaching and expertise into Delta communities can significantly and durably improve diabetes outcomes, complications, and quality of care.

Polycom Inc. is specialised in unified collaborative communications (UCC) that maximize the efficiency and productivity of people and organisations by integrating the broadest array of video, voice, data and Web solutions to deliver the ultimate communications experience. Polycom's hiqh quality, standards-based conferencing and collaboration solutions are easy to deploy and manage, as well as intuitive to use. Supported by an open architecture, they integrate seamlessly with leading telephony and presence-based networks. With its market driving technologies, best-in-class products, alliance partnerships, and world-class service, Polycom is the smart choice for organisations seeking proven solutions and a competitive advantage in real-time communications and collaboration. More Polycom news can be found in the VMW March 2005 article Polycom Healthcare video collaboration solutions help improve patient care and provider co-ordination.

Leslie Versweyveld

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