PORTLAND, Ore, Nov. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- High-quality healthcare is vital. However, American Indian and Alaska Native people often do not receive this level of care.
In response, the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board, created Indian Country ECHO - a service for health care providers that offers 60-90 minute "clinics," where providers regularly gather virtually to consult with clinical experts.
For Dr. Angela Troutt and Dr. Kelsey Kroon, both clinical pharmacists at Crow/ Northern Cheyenne Hospital, Indian Country ECHO has been a "lifeline." When the pair was first hired, treatment was not available for hepatitis C in Crow Agency, the rural Montana town where their hospital is located. As a result, according to Dr. Kroon, patients suspected of having hepatitis C, many of whom were tribal members, were referred to hospitals in Billings, about an hour drive away. "Patients would receive a workup, only to learn that the treatment was not covered by their insurance. We wanted to bring hepatitis C treatment to this community. So we got connected with Indian Country ECHO. The other providers helped us grow our knowledge and confidence, so we could effectively treat our patients, and eventually we started our own hepatitis C clinic."
This story illustrates the widespread impacts Indian Country ECHO is having. "Thus far," said David Stephen's, a registered nurse and the Director of Indian Country ECHO, "we have worked with over 450 Tribes and clinics to offer clinical and public health training and expertise to some of the most rural communities. We are seeing the impacts reverberating outward." For the over 10,000 Indian Health Service, Tribal, and urban Indian healthcare providers who have received training in a variety of disease areas "ECHO is game changing," says Stephens.
In honor of Native American Heritage Month, and to celebrate being awarded a prestigious 2021 Outstanding Service Award by the National Indian Health Board, Indian County ECHO is launching a vibrant new website to help spread the word about its services.
Website features include:
An Ask a Clinical Question tool, where health care providers, staff, and administrators can receive rapid responses to their pressing clinical questions