Over the last two weeks, concerns over a small number of Ebola cases entering the United States has emerged. Within the hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and ambulance services in Arkansas, a growing number of health care workers wanted to know (1) what is the state’s plan to manage this if it comes to our state, (2) what training do we need, and (3) what resources must we procure?
After calls began to pour into the Arkansas Department of Health, leaders there and at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) met to create a series of educational talks for health professionals and the public. In one week, six talks were given by a panel of experts from the State Department of Health and UAMS in Epidemiology, Infectious Diseases, Pharmacy, Medicine, and Public Health. Over 160 facilities tuned in to the talks given over Interactive Video/Telehealth units.
Participants earned continuing education credits for these talks in the areas of pharmacy, medicine, nursing, EMT, and health education. In addition to providing needed training and continuing education credit, the programs allowed participants to ask questions directly to the people leading the prevention and preparedness efforts in the state.
Mobilizing the health care resources in the state is one of the many benefits of having a wide telemedicine network. While Arkansans should not expect Ebola in the state at any point, should it come, the health care teams are ready.