The Health Directors were excited about “Embracing Technology in Public Health” theme for the 56th Annual Eastern District NC Public Health Association Conference. There were several education sessions for the Health Directors to join besides the scheduled sessions.
The Health Directors co-partnered with the Nursing Section for the presentation “Big Data in Local Health Department—Flu Near You”. Ms. Jennifer Olsen, Pandemic Manager, Skoll Global Threats Fund, enthusiastically recruited the attendees to use the Flu Near You app on their electronic devices.
The Health Directors Section observed telemedicine in action. Dr. Sheila Davies, PhD., Dare County Health Director, and Ms. Kim Carr, coordinated an excellent telemedicine program. Ms. Carr, who leads the telemedicine initiative at the Outer Banks Hospital, organized the presentation with a physician practicing in Massachusetts who demonstrated how the equipment works and how physicians are able to make a diagnosis through telemedicine. The vendors of the equipment for telemedicine and home health described the costs and usage of the equipment. Since the equipment is not used in the traditional medical settings, the hands on demonstration was informative for public health employees from rural communities. Ms. Carolyn Moser, Health Director of Pender County Health Department, reiterated the value of the telemedicine in rural communities.
Mr. A. Michael Walker II, NREMT, CHSS, Regional Manager discussed how the North Carolina Drug Card Program can be a valuable resource for the vulnerable populations throughout NC. The NC Drug Card was started by the North Carolina Medical Society & North Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants and was created as a free prescription drug card program for underinsured or uninsured patients. The NC Drug Card Program worked with numerous organizations to help reach the uninsured and underinsured populations who can become the noncompliant patients because of their inability to afford their prescription medications. The savings from the NC Drug Card Program can be between 25-75% off the retail price for most brand and generic FDA-approved medications. The attendees learned strategies to assist transforming the noncompliant patients due to inability to purchase medications into compliant patients with positive health outcomes. Also, Mr. Walker provided dental assistance resources for patients without dental insurance to all the presentation attendees.The EDNCPHA Officers for the Health Directors’ section are as follows: