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Participant Spotlight: Q&A with Denton County Public Health

Our new feature explores the stories of emocha users and participants.

Denton County Texas TB Department
Hear from a Public Health Department using emocha in Denton County, Texas

Since 2014, emocha has helped hundreds of patients with tuberculosis across the country take thousands of doses of medication. Each of our more than 60 public health programs represents an array of personal stories, ranging from nurses and case management workers to the patients themselves. Patients who use emocha engage with our technology throughout their recovery journeys to receive additional support services and improve medication adherence.

Our newest feature will tell the stories of participants who have implemented emocha into their public health departments. This month, we are highlighting Joe Paul Gallo, Director of Chronic and Communicable Disease Management at Denton County Public Health in Texas, and his team of nurses: Felicia Hopkins, Soila Gomez, and Karen Neal-Mangus. Having implemented emocha 2 years ago for tuberculosis, Denton County will soon also use the technology for patients with diabetes.

Q: Please describe your health department and TB program.
A: Denton County Public Health is 6-10 percent rural, and the rest is urban. There is generally a higher concentration of people in the south, while the north is more rural.

Q: How many people are in your department’s jurisdiction?
A: Our department serves a population of approximately 900,000, which is geographically around 953 square miles.

Q: How many cases does your program see in a typical year?
A: In an average year, we see between 22 to 25 active cases of TB, without counting the 100+ cases of LTBI.

Q: What is the structure of your team?
A: At Denton County Public Health, everyone does everything. We have three registered nurses, one licensed vocational nurse, one licensed vocational nurse who is trained in TB but is on the diabetic team, and one team lead. Our team members care for patients who are both using video DOT and traditional in-person DOT.

Q: Have you ever used video DOT before working with emocha?
A: Yes, we were using WeCounsel livestream for 3-4 years.

Q: Can you explain why you chose to switch to emocha and asynchronous video DOT?
A: Asynchronous technology was the key. With livestream, you have to schedule appointments, and it leads to many no-shows. Now, we let the patient take the medications on their own time, while still encouraging the same time every day. We review the next morning, so it automatically gives the patients and nurses freedom.

Q: Why did you decide to incorporate video DOT into your program?
A: We decided to implement emocha into Denton’s public health program due to time, cost, risk, and employee issues. Risk issues included driving the county vehicle (for example, we had three traffic accidents). Perhaps most importantly, it was the time required out of the office, and not being able to do anything else. We are a small program: about half of the size of our neighbor Tarrant County and about a quarter of Dallas. Despite the smaller population size, we still have to cover more than 953 square miles.

Q: What do your patients think of video DOT? Your staff?
A: Everyone loves it since they no longer have to schedule times. emocha allows everything to be done on both the patients’ and staff's schedules.

Q: How has the addition of video DOT helped your program?
A: Adding video DOT has saved us hours of nursing time, lowered the no-show rate, allowed nurses to complete other tasks, and improved overall medication compliance.

Q: What’s one piece of advice that you would give to other TB programs considering implementing video DOT?
A: Do it as soon as possible. It’s a breath of fresh air.

Q: Is there anything else that you would like to share?
A: The buy-in with staff and patients is simple, and all have nothing to say except that they love having the extra time and working on their own schedules.

Interested in learning more about our customers’ experiences and successes? Check out our case studies and research page.

Do you want to share your story? We invite user submissions at info@emocha.com.