Alaska Communications partners with Akeela for telehealth

In yet another movement into telehealth space, Alaska Communications Systems Group Inc. has partnered with Alaska behavioral health facility Akeela to provide remote care to rural patients.

“With these relationships, we demonstrate how we work with customers to understand their needs, and then design, custom build and manage complex network solutions,” wrote Alaska Communications Senior Vice President Bill Bishop in an email. “We’re proud to say our track record of providing secure, reliable connections to clinics across Alaska means we’re improving access to health care, improving the quality of care, and reducing costs for our new partners at Chugachmiut, JAMHI and Akeela.”

In July, Alaska Communications partnered with the Juneau Alliance for Mental Health, Inc., or JAMHI, and Sitka Community Hospital to provide the equipment and necessary bandwidth to give rural patients behavioral and primary healthcare access.

Chugachmiut is a Tribal consortium serving the seven Native communities of the Chugach region with health and social services, education and training, and technical assistance.

Telehealth, or telemedicine, administers medical care remotely through internet or traditional telephone connections. Through video and digitally-enabled biomedical readings, physicians and nurses in one area are able to provide primary, urgent, psychiatric, and even intensive care to rural patients without needing expensive transit for themselves or the patient.

Akeela provides mental health and substance abuse treatment, as well as rehabilitation programs for inmates in every correctional facility in the state. Akeela has outpatient treatment facilities in Anchorage, Nome, Fairbanks, Kenai, Sutton, Juneau and Seward.

Unlike JAHMI and Sitka Community Hospital, Akeela has not received state or federal grant money for its telehealth equipment.

According to Christopher Constant, Akeela’s director of grants and marketing, the connectivity agreement with Alaska Communications will be geared toward providing mental health counseling remotely.

“We needed a network provider that would allow us to grow and continue to facilitate wellness throughout the life spans of all Alaskans. Alaska Communications took the time to listen and understand what we needed, and provided a top-tier solution,” Akeela’s chief operations officer Mark Marlow said. “As a result of our new relationship, we can provide greater access to our behavioral health programs without travel, which lowers costs and makes us more efficient.”

Alaska Communications has a program specifically geared toward coordinating such partnerships in tandem with its telecommunications services. It also has an existing partnership with Chugachmiut, a medical and social care tribal consortium that provides care to Southcentral locations.

DJ Summers can be reached at [email protected].

08/26/2015 - 2:09pm