The Arkansas Aging Initiative Program’s Centers on Aging held a statewide education event using equipment and network connectivity provided by Arkansas e-Link.
The event was hosted by the Oaklawn Center on Aging in Hot Springs and coordinated with South Arkansas Center on Aging in El Dorado and the Arkansas Geriatric Education Center (AGEC). Angela Simmons, APN with the Arkansas Heart Hospital, was the guest speaker, and the topic was congestive heart failure.
The Centers on Aging will offer more geriatric-focused education utilizing the e-Link network to reach additional clinicians around the state. “We feel like we can reach more people utilizing the technology. We are planning on offering quarterly education events across the state to give clinicians better access to evidence-based health care solutions,” said Kathy Packard, director of the Oaklawn Center on Aging.
The hour-long program joined more than 50 participants from 12 different communities via video teleconferencing. Participants could interact directly with the guest speaker and ask questions during the live presentation.
Participants also learned of new technologies that are designed to treat patients who are at risk for heart failure. One new technology, the LifeVest, is a personal defibrillator worn by a patient at risk for sudden cardiac arrest. It monitors the patient’s heart continuously, and if the patient goes into a life threatening arrhythmia, the LifeVest delivers a shock treatment to restore the patient’s heart to a normal rhythm. “Sharing new information about anything that has to do with patient care is beneficial to all health care providers, especially to those in rural areas that in the past did not have easy access to information on new technology and it’s uses,” said Packard. “They can now implement new technologies easier, more efficiently and improve patient care.”
The program discussed different signs and symptoms of heart failure along with underlying causes and contributors in the elderly. Medical professionals attending the event were also eligible to obtain continuing education credit by pre-registering for the event with the AGEC and submitting completed paperwork.
“Before utilizing the e-Link network our speaker would have had to drive from El Dorado to Hot Springs, and then only participants willing to drive to our location would have been able to benefit from this event,” explained Packard. “That’s a huge savings on mileage alone. If the participating sites each drove one vehicle to the event, it would have been an estimated, round-trip total of than 4,800 miles.. The great thing about using the telehealth equipment is that it connects all of us together, and we actually get to participate in the same educational opportunities without having to travel.”
For more information on the Arkansas Aging Initiative log on to http://aging.uams.edu/ , and to find out about more educational opportunities available over the Arkansas e-Link network, please email Erin Bush at EEBush@uams.edu.