ISU Headlines

ISU, Hospital Cooperative expand telehealth to rural communities

Posted March 5, 2008

Idaho State University and The Hospital Cooperative are collaborating to improve the delivery of health education and health care in southeastern Idaho.  

With $98,000 that Idaho State University received from the Rural Utilities Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, ISU Educational Technology Services and The Hospital Cooperative will be able to expand the Cooperative Telehealth Network to four or more rural communities. 

Plans include installing sophisticated video systems for education and telemedicine in local hospitals, and using this equipment to enhance access to classes and to health care.

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

Blake Beck, ISU Educational Technology Services manager, termed the opportunity “a win-win situation” for the university and the cooperative.

“The opportunity to utilize Idaho State University grant funds to assist The Hospital Cooperative in their efforts to provide telehealth services to rural southeastern Idaho strengthens our relationship with THC and demonstrates ISU’s commitment to further our health education mission,” Beck said.

“This collaboration with Idaho State University will help us deliver telepsychiatry services to four or five communities where there are no psychiatrists,” said Jon Smith, executive director of The Hospital Cooperative. “We also hope to collaborate with ISU in delivering educational programs to these areas.”   

Idaho State University is the state-designated lead institution in health professions education. From its main campus in Pocatello, it offers a broad range of health-professions degree programs.

The Hospital Cooperative, headquartered in Pocatello, is a network of 13 not-for-profit hospitals in southeastern Idaho and western Wyoming. With public and private support, THC operates the Cooperative Telehealth Network to deliver educational and clinical services to rural areas using state-of-the-art telenetworking technologies.