WMU News

Telehealth project gets $500,000 federal grant

July 22, 2004

KALAMAZOO--A federal grant totaling nearly $500,000 has been finalized and will allow Western Michigan University's College of Health and Human Services to develop cutting-edge health care communication technology.

The $492,080 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration was earmarked in an omnibus spending bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in December. U.S. Rep. Fred Upton was instrumental in getting the earmark for WMU included in the bill.

University officials then submitted a grant proposal that outlined the college's plans to research and deploy telehealth technologies through pilot projects and partnerships between higher education and health care practitioners. Federal officials recently approved the proposal.

Telehealth is the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration.

The WMU telehealth project will expand available services to rural residents and allied health practitioners and promote the development of a regional telehealth research agenda. The project is composed of three parts: provision of telemed visits and consultation to patients and practitioners; professional education continuing credit; and advancement of research in the area of rural allied telehealth.

Although the program's intention will be to eventually develop a full range of service provision, continuing education credit and research activities in allied telehealth, it will focus initially on activities that serve, directly or indirectly, the allied health care needs of the rural elderly in Southwest Michigan, as exemplified by clients seen in the WMU Unified Clinics.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 269 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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