Success Story
Release No.STELPRD4013520
, Dec 13, 2011 --

USDA Rural Development

Telecommunications Program

Success Story: Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program

Asante Health System



The southern Oregon and northern California region was in need of broadband technology that would allow rural, federally-qualified health centers, physician clinics, and school-based medical clinics to connect to the regional hospital referral center. Additionally, this network would allow remote access to secure patient records, and provide other needed telemedicine services to the community.

How Rural Development Helped:

USDA Rural Development awarded three Distance Learning and Telemedicine grants equaling $1,329,480 and one Loan/Grant for $1,000,000 to the Asante Health System.

The first grant (RUS1) established a secure electronic network from the community hospital in Grants Pass, Oregon, to independent physician offices, the local FQHC, and two rural school medical clinics.

RUS1 also provided the funds to Three Rivers Community Hospital (TRCH) to install a Fuji Computed Radiography System. Josephine County physicians received both vendor and in-house training on use of radiography system. This was the first step in providing telemedicine to the rural communities.

The second round of grant funds (RUS2) built upon the infrastructure created from RUS1 to expand services available through the physician portal, AsanteMD. The Pyramis system was installed at TRCH and Rogue Valley Medical Center (RVMC), the regional referral center, to allow clinicians to view EKG strips electronically. A preparedness assessment was completed for Prescription Writer – Medication Administration Check. Video conferencing Polycom units were installed in conference rooms at RVMC, TRCH, and offsite hospital locations. Due to the new HIPAA regulations, a new encryption system was purchased that provided secure “anywhere” access to secure medical data. Siskiyou Community Health Center, a rural FQHC developed an integrated computer network for the three medical clinic sites and Project Baby Check outreach office. Equipment purchased allows SCHC to education patients about their disease and offer information regarding prevention and self-management. Configuration of Clinical Access for Remote Lab Order Entry and Electronic Signature began.

The third award (RUS3) was a loan/grant. Clinical core systems were implemented allowing access to clinical data connecting five hospitals in southern Oregon and northern California and area physicians. A single patient identifier was created to link information to one record. The medication administration check system (MAK) was completed. A digital image system for heart catheterization and similar procedures was added. A management information system for radiological procedures; patient scheduling, orders, film management, charges was completed. A data repository that is core for the electronic health information of all transcribed reports and lab results was completed. A system for surgery scheduling of patients and managing resources was completed. A Picture Archive and Communication System (PACS) for digital storage and enhanced abilities to retrieve analyze and access radiological images across the network were competed.

The fourth award (RUS4) purchased a Home Care software system (Mysis) that interfaces between the telehealth monitoring software and the Home Health and Hospice software which established Asante Health System’s telehealth program through telemonitoring using Home Health patients.

The final award (RUS5) is currently in progress. It is a loan/grant award. The main objectives were to establish integrated comprehensive information system to be accessed by seven clinical sites utilizing AsanteMD adding a critical care module, emergency department module, Misys Point of Care system for Hospice; Homecare computerized medication managers, Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) readiness assessment, CPOE module implementation, Clinical Documentation implementation, and establish a distance learning component.


By final report, 800 physicians and allied health professionals, which include 5 hospitals, have connected to AsanteMD. Application training was provided. A physician information link was implemented which allows physicians to contact specialists who can answer questions concerning pediatric or adult Endocrine and Infectious Disease issues. Physicians were trained on all applications. Sixty-seven tele-homemonitoring units and peripherals were purchased and were in use at the time of the final report. Two educational computer kiosks were installed at TRCH and three educational computer kiosks were installed in rural Cave Junction which allows students, patients, and family members’ access to research and distance learning opportunities.

Asante Health System continues to build upon the infrastructure, adding new modules and upgrades to its system. This would not have been possible if it had not been for Rural Utilities Service Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program.

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