Rural Alaskans Find Health Care Guidance from Computerized Support Organization

Development of a computerized patient support network for people with chronic illnesses

Starting in November 1966, Medical Pathfinders, a non-profit organization that helped seriously ill Alaskans to navigate their way through the health care system, worked towards establishing a state-of-the-art research and communications system.

With the grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Medical Pathfinders sought to provide patients with personalized medical information about their condition and the resources available.

The organization was handicapped by the death in 1997 of its founder, inspirational force and major fundraiser, Kimberly Price. Unable to raise sufficient funds to continue the service, it suspended operations shortly after the grant period ended in March 2001.

Key Results

During the grant period, Medical Pathfinders:

  • Staffed an Anchorage office equipped with a toll-free telephone number and a computer network linked to the Web.
  • Developed a computerized information management system to track clients and resources.
  • Made improvements in the intake procedure, including the creation of a new intake form for telephone interviews.

Funding

RWJF supported this project with a grant of $497,100 from November 1996 to March 2001.