In an effort to rapidly disseminate as much information as possible on best practices for hospitals and health care providers, Dr. Kayse Shrum, president of Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, directed the creation of a Project ECHO COVID-19 service line that can address the resources needed for Oklahoma’s rural health systems.
“As a publicly supported academic health center, it’s our obligation at OSU Medicine to step up to meet the challenges presented by the COVID-19 health crisis. As Governor Stitt’s Secretary of Science and Innovation and a member of his Solution Task Force on COVID-19, we are charged with deploying as quickly as possible all available resources across the state to help abate the disease in light of its rapid onset,” said Shrum. “Project ECHO COVID-19 service line allows us to share our knowledge and health care best practices with rural health providers so that they can be better equipped to diagnose, test, and treat patients with COVID-19.”
The goal of the service line is to assist rural practitioners, hospitals, nursing homes, and even state and local stakeholders in policy and appropriations in meeting the challenges the disease is placing on rural communities and health systems.
The Project ECHO COVID-19 service line launched March 20 with more than 150 participating organizations, representing physicians’ groups, critical access hospitals and nursing and extended care facilities,” said Dr. Joseph Johnson, associate dean for Project ECHO at OSU Center for Health Sciences.
“The goal with this program is to address the changes in health practice and provide information necessary to flatten the curve of spread in our communities,” Johnson said.
The growing COVID-19 pandemic is affecting Americans of all ages, with, according to the CDC, older adults and those with serious underlying medical conditions considered most at risk, said Tara M. Jackson, DrPH, executive director of OSU-CHS Project ECHO.
“This is a rapidly evolving situation and our expert COVID-19 Oklahoma Update ECHO team closely monitors the prevalence and transmission rates of the virus and shares knowledge with healthcare providers across Oklahoma of best-practices in the diagnosis, treatment and containment of this disease. That’s how Project ECHO is responding to meet needs of COVID-19, or the coronavirus disease as it is commonly referred to, is a contagious respiratory disease that was first detected in China in December of 2019 and now has impacted the world.
While considered a “novel” coronavirus, meaning it is a new form of a virus, it is currently being tracked as a life-threatening disease with an expanding nature to counties throughout Oklahoma.
“Although, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expects widespread transmission of COVID-19 in our country, being prepared in our rural communities will decrease the mortality rates,” said Dr. Gitanjali Pai, an infectious disease specialist at Stilwell Memorial Hospital.
To register for the OSU-CHS COVID-19 Project ECHO visit health.okstate.edu/echo.
About Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences and OSU Medicine
Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences is a nationally recognized academic health center focused on teaching, research and patient care. OSU Center for Health Sciences offers graduate and professional degrees through its College of Osteopathic Medicine, the School of Allied Health, the School of Health Care Administration, the School of Biomedical Sciences, and the School of Forensic Sciences.
OSU Medicine also operates a network of clinics in the Tulsa area offering a multitude of specialty services including addiction medicine, cardiology, family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, surgery and women’s health.
For more information, visit health.okstate.edu.