Beginnings: The Georgia Partnership for Telehealth
Georgia's statewide telehealth program began in 2004, when WellPoint, Inc. and Anthem merged to create Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia. Negotiations for the merger resulted in WellPoint providing a generous grant of $11.5 million over the next three years to Commissioner John Oxendine's Rural Health Initiative, founded on Oxendine's vision for a robust, interconnected telehealth network across the entire state of Georgia. The Georgia Partnership for Telehealth, Inc. was founded in 2007 to facilitate the emerging statewide network when WellPoint's three-year commitment came to an end.
The statewide collaboration among policy makers, healthcare providers and patients has led to a tremendous rate of success. Beginning with just 8 patient visits in 2006, GPT's Open Access Network now facilitates approximately 40,000 telehealth encounters annually. The network has grown to include over 650 clinical endpoints and facilitates collaboration between more than 150 specialists and healthcare providers that represent over 30 specialty practices.
The United States and Beyond: Global Partnership for Telehealth
In 2010, GPT became the grantee and host of the Southeastern Telehealth Resource Center, and an era of immense growth began. The National School of Applied Telehealth was launched in 2011. In 2012, Lawmakers from other states approached us and helped form both the Alabama and Florida Partnerships for Telehealth. We created GPT Missions to manage sites in Honduras, Guatemala, Macedonia, and Afghanistan in 2013. In just four short years, GPT had become a robust conglomerate of telehealth-related organizations.
By 2014, GPT was acting under several different names to achieve a single goal: bringing healthcare everywhere. As a result, we consolidated the individual organizations into one Global Partnership for Telehealth, the company we are today. In Georgia, however, we retain our original name due to our large in-state presence. SETRC remains a separate, government-funded entity housed in GPT's headquarters.
Today, GPT is the leading agency focused on globally increasing access to healthcare through the innovative use of technology.