Texas A&M University, a public research university, has reportedly brought a telemedicine program, named EMPOWER (Enhancing Mental Health Practice, Organization and Workforce through Education and Readiness). The program is designed to make its Opioid Task Force experts available to rural healthcare providers who seeking help in treating drug abuse. As per the reports, the university’s Health Science Center will be hosting a hub-and-spoke telehealth program patterned after the ECHO (Extension for Community Health Outcomes) telemedicine program which was developed around 15 years ago at the University Of New Mexico School Of Medicine.
The project EMPOWER program will utilize a virtual care platform to connect healthcare providers with rural and remote communities with specialists for education, peer support, and other resources. In a statement clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Pharmacy, Joy Alonzo stated that “We need to take action and cannot wait for improved surveillance to tell us there’s an opioid problem in Texas.” According to him, “EMPOWER allows us to extend the capacity of care out beyond our walls and into these communities, providing valuable education and resources that can save lives, design recovery structures for each individual, all while educating rural health care providers at the exact same time.”
According to the reports, Project ECHO programs have been largely adopting by healthcare centers and health systems to expand access to education for several public health concerns. Most of the nation’s existing opioid abuse epidemic that is claiming over 130 people every day. As part of the announcement, the EMPOWER program at Texas A&M University will comprise a series of virtual care workshops for care providers focused on subjects like how to put off over-prescribing and obtaining federal waivers to conduct Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) therapy.