MeHCA improves access to care and supports health and wellness needs of the underserved.
Winner of the 2013 LTC & Senior Living LINK Spirit of Innovation Award, the Model eHealth Community for Aging (MeHCA) symbolizes the powerful combination of imagination, technology and partnerships. Initially conceived through a vital partnership with CARING Housing Ministries (CARING), MeHCA is a unique collaborative approach supported by broadband-enabled technology that improves access to care and supports the health and wellness needs of underserved seniors in Los Angeles area neighborhoods.
The MeHCA Project employs a multi-intervention approach to enhance health education and telehealth services for vulnerable seniors, addressing various health and wellness needs through several activity areas at CARING locations and senior centers which include:
- “Self-Health Knowledge” – computer-learning courses designed to promote digital health literacy and cognitive fitness, helping participants navigate the Internet with laptop computers and mobile devices to locate and access in-language, online health resources and information
- “Big Screen Health” – health and wellness education workshops through video conferencing technology, connecting 10 unique community partner sites throughout Southern California via broadcasts from community health providers and experts on health and wellness education topics such as diabetes, medication management, falls prevention, and exercise
- “Know Your Health!” – a remote patient monitoring (RPM) program using portable tablets to help community members better manage their own healthcare needs (blood pressure, weight change, and blood glucose) in the convenience of their own homes. The program also included a tele-podiatry component, providing live podiatry consultations via video conference
During the program’s first two years of implementation, a UC San Francisco researcher found that MeHCA generated a wide range of impacts and wellness outcomes.
- More than 1,000 older adults across nearly 20 community housing sites and provider organizations participated
- 895 video conference attendees participated in 28 health and wellness education workshops in English, Korean, Spanish, and American Sign Language
- Statistically significant decreases in blood pressure among 91 remotely monitored individuals
- High patient satisfaction rates with telehealth interventions
The project was externally funded with grants from the UC Davis Health System, the California Telehealth Network, and United Healthcare. With dozens of organizations that include affordable housing, university research programs, community health clinics, technology startups and senior centers, the project is a story of meeting needs through partnership.
MeHCA continues to thrive and demonstrate high levels of engagement between community members and providers, fostering new/expanding partnerships, generating new models of health, and promoting the deployment of technology innovations and applications.
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