What is Telehealth ROCKS?
The Telehealth ROCKS (Rural Outreach to Children of Kansas) project utilizes a range of telemedicine technologies to partner with rural communities and families in order to identify and treat developmental and behavioral concerns at early ages and positively impact the accessibility of mental health services for the children and families of Southeast Kansas. The project aims to promote family engagement in care coordination through collaboration with families and child-serving systems (healthcare, education, behavioral health, social service agencies, advocacy groups, others). The innovative use of technology in screening, assessment, treatment, and education will increase communication and collaboration and ultimately improve access to quality care. The Telehealth ROCKS project is unique in assembling leading pediatric telemental health champions and researchers on one project, pairing assessment and treatment for maximum effect.
Telehealth ROCKS includes ECHO "telementoring" to assist local providers in developing expertise in developmental and behavioral disorders to increase their capacity to identify and treat these disorders in local settings. The ECHO telementoring model bridges the gap between healthcare knowledge and primary care practice using established adult learning principles and practice change strategies. This is not telemedicine where the specialist assumes the care of the patients and families; instead, it is a guided practice model where the primary care provider manages the patient and gains skills to manage many more patients. Thus, Project ECHO participants learn by doing, learn from each other, and learn from specialist teams.
Early identification of developmental and behavioral problems coupled with ready access to mental health services offers the promise of decreasing the impact of such disorders on a child or adolescent's ability to function in his or her developmentally appropriate role as well as decreasing the future cost burden on the child or adolescent's family, such as lost productivity at work. Telehealth ROCKS will extend supports to families through Family Resource Specialists to families receiving assessment and treatment over telemedicine for behavioral concerns. By following up with families and identifying the needs of the parent(s) and child it helps to reduce stress placed upon the caregiver in trying to manage a complex service system.
Telehealth ROCKS rural partner sites include Sedan City Hospital/Tallgrass Rural Health Clinic; Ashley Rural Health Clinic; Life Span Institute; and the Community Health Centers of Southeast Kansas in the following locations: Pittsburg (main and mobile clinics), Coffeyville (2 locations), Baxter Springs, Columbus, and Iola. This network will directly serve 9 sites in eight counties.