Telemedicine with a twist at Weitzman Institute/Community Health Center in Meriden

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) – Doctors from across the country are benefiting from innovative patient-centered care approach at Community Health Center.

Doctors in 25 states tuning into Project Echo. They’re on a myriad of devices from laptops to smart phones.

Primary care physicians are connecting with specialty doctors through a sophisticated video conferencing system.

“We describe it as making geography irrelevant. You can put people together and connect them and it doesn’t matter where they are,” said Dr. Daren Anderson, Director of the Weitzman Institute at Community Health Center, transforming healthcare delivery.

He says, “The primary care providers learn how to manage things they might not otherwise have been able to manage and the patients benefit being able to get care in their community with the provider who knows them best.”

At the head of this session, specialists at the Integrative Pain Center of Arizona.

The focus is chronic pain.

“We tend to create Project Echo clinics that are focused on what we call hotspots – areas that are acutely urgent for the country, that are urgent for our patients,” said Dr. Anderson.

First case – from Norwalk, Connecticut.

A man – a cocaine user – recently cut off from years on oxycodone.

“He states his pain– upon waking — is 10 out of 10. It’s difficult for him to be even able to put his socks on,” explains his female doctor on the screen.

“You just gotta have a come to Jesus talk with this guy. What you are doing, you’re not functional, you’re using cocaine, don’t know where you’re getting the money for that, we have some suspicions frankly. Opiates are not in your best interest,” responds expert in Arizona.

Up next. Dr. Dan Wilensky, who practices family medicine in Meriden, Connecticut.

Treating a woman also dealing with anxiety and depression.

“I don’t really like the medicines I have her on, and I’m hoping for some suggestions on what I might move to– as we progress in this,” said Dr. Wilensky.

Later, he admits, “I went into it feeling like I’m comfortable with managing pain and I learned from them just how much I was just skimming the surface.”

Among the recommendations – listening for what matters. To figure out what the next best move should be.

Another expert at Integrative Pain Center responds, “The other thing is, when a patient sees you are that interested, they start to open up and they start to become a little more, oh this guy really got my back.”

“As I get more contact with them, I start to feel more and more like a specialist. I know what I’m looking for, I know what to do,” said Dr. Wilensky.

Dr. Anderson says it comes down to recognizing primary care providers don’t have a lot of time with patients.

Project Echo is a way to efficiently meet doctors’ needs — so they are better able to care for their patients.

For more information, click here.

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