One of five Telehealth Resource Centers nationally, the Northwest Regional Telehealth Resource Center (NRTRC) leverages the collective expertise of thirty-three telehealth networks across Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and United States-affiliated Pacific Islands to share information and resources which assist in the development of new telehealth programmes. Ms. Thielst will lead the re-positioning of the NRTRC for further growth and new provider adoption of telehealth technologies to enhance delivery systems and reduce organizational and patient costs.
Ms. Thielst has an extensive background in health and hospital administration and is a strong proponent of health information technology. She applies her deep experience to implementing operational improvements to design effective business solutions, including establishing essential governance and operational structures to facilitate health information exchange (HIE).
Since 2005, with federal funding from the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth, the NRTRC has provided networking opportunities, technical services and educational programmes to assist health care organizations, networks and providers in the implementation of telehealth technologies to enable and support access to health care. They will continue to enhance these offerings and also assist existing and new members as they navigate the intersection of telehealth, electronic health records and health information exchange in an effort to attain meaningful use.
The NRTRC is a consortium of experienced telehealth networks, governed by a board of directors, serving as an information agent and a telehealth community-building organization. It was created to facilitate the ongoing development of existing and new telehealth networks through opportunities for education, training, strategic planning and subject matter expertise related to telehealth and telemedicine network creation, growth and maintenance.
HRSA's Office for the Advancement of Telehealth (OAT) was established to serve as a leader in telehealth, a focal point for HRSA's telehealth activities and as a catalyst for the wider adoption of advanced technologies in the provision of health care services and education. The office leads, co-ordinates and promotes the use of telehealth technologies by fostering partnerships within HRSA, and with other Federal agencies, states and private sector groups to create telehealth projects; administering telehealth grant programmes; providing technical assistance; developing distance learning and training programmes; assessing technology investment strategies; evaluating the use of telehealth technologies and programmes; developing telehealth policy initiatives to improve access to quality health services and promoting knowledge exchange about 7quot;best telehealth practices".