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Diffusion of innovation: Introducing technology to rural primary health care to address obesity

Elizabeth Prendergast, MS, CHES and Sharon Brinkman-Windle, MPA. Prevention Research Center, West Virginia University, HSC PO Box 9190, Morgantown, WV 26506-9190, 304-293-5184, eprendergast@hsc.wvu.edu

The integration of technology with rural medical practice presents the opportunity to address chronic health issues in West Virginia (WV). A pilot project, funded by the Centers for Disease Control, addresses an office system intervention to address obesity, a persistent and highly prevalent problem. The goal of the project is twofold. First, implement a technology-based intervention that will change physician practice patterns through structured prompts based on clinical selection criteria for at-risk, overweight or obese patients. Second, facilitate improved communication between physician or provider and the patients, encouraging chronic disease self management principles. Based on technology created by the Health Disparities Collaboratives, the CVDEMS software will be installed in two rural clinics and evaluated in terms of effectiveness, staff utilization and improved health outcomes. Some of the challenges being addressed through this project are minimizing the impact of physician/staff time, maximizing reimbursement opportunities for services and drawing on community resources to make up for the lack of allied health professionals in rural WV to address obesity. The introduction of technology to paper-based clinical practices has been proven to increase patient safety, reduce medication errors and improve physician utilization of evidence-based practice guidelines. As a policy issue, this paper addresses how the diffusion of innovation improves health care in priority populations.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant in this session will be able to

Keywords: Obesity, Rural Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: Health Disparities Collaboratives - product is a free software package called CVDEMS
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Obesity, Diabetes and Nutrition: Addressing Lifestyles and Environmental Issues

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA