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Massachusetts Announces Telehealth Pilot for Sexual Assault Treatment

February 8, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
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The Massachusetts Governor’s office recently announced the creation of a telehealth nursing center, which aims to help victims of sexual assault by providing around-the-clock medical assistance in sexual assault treatment services to providers who do not offer anything in this area. It’s being called the Massachusetts Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Telenursing Center and is getting $3.3 million in federal grant funding from the U.S. Department of Justice.

 “Massachusetts is proud to be a national leader in providing the highest quality of care for victims of sexual assault,” stated Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. “By investing in this new Telenursing Center and medical care services, Massachusetts is leveraging technology to improve public health for victims of sexual assault and ensure a higher quality of care in their healing process.”

The center will be piloted at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, with the services being sent out across the country. The initial grant funding will provide information technology equipment and assistance, clinical staffing, education and technical assistance for pilot participants, and ongoing evaluation of the overall program. The pilot's reuslts will help the later the development of a National TeleNursing Center.

The three-year grant includes three phases of implementation. The first year is focused on developing the necessary infrastructure and capabilities to deliver telenursing services, as well as identifying partner healthcare sites that work within the four targeted populations. The second and third years of the grant will be focused on implementation of telenursing care to those nationwide populations.

 “This program will allow us to use telemedicine to promote the most effective physical, emotional, and forensic care for sexual assault victims,” Lauren Smith, M.D., interim commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), said in a statement. “We also need to do everything that we can to support the frontline professionals who work with these patients.”

American Doctors Online/PhoneDOCTORx will provide consultative services and telemedicine network design.

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