Project ECHO provides specialized healthcare to rural Oklahomans - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Project ECHO provides specialized healthcare to rural Oklahomans

LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- A new program aimed at giving residents the best care they can get, without asking them to drive long distances, is taking root in Oklahoma.

Project ECHO is a form of medical video-conferencing that connects doctors in Southwest Oklahoma with experts at the OSU Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa.  It allows experts to share knowledge local doctors need to treat patients with complex conditions.

The program also allows residents to get the best care without having to drive to Oklahoma City, Dallas or farther to see a specialist.

OSU Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa is the first ECHO location in the state and doctors and staff at the center value this opportunity to spread medical knowledge in Oklahoma.

Dr. William J. Pettit said, "We're very excited about it and feel that, especially for Oklahoma, that's primarily a rural state, 90 percent of the land mass being rural,  it’s a way to get help to folks, and it’s a way for rural doctors not to feel isolated.”

Dr. Pettit was formerly in private practice in Lawton, and served as staff physician at Reynolds Army Hospital on Fort Sill. The Center for Health Sciences currently hosts ECHO sessions in psychiatry, but officials say future ECHO sessions will cover areas like addiction medicine, obesity, HIV-AIDs care and women's health.

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