Residents of Bleckley, Dooly, Dodge, Pulaski, Telfair, and Wilcox counties face barriers to care that contribute to severe health disparities, especially in terms of preventing cancer, catching cancer in its early stages, navigating through the different medical providers once diagnosed, and treating cancer locally. To that end, Community Health Works, in partnership with Taylor Regional Hospital, in Hawkinsville, and Dodge County Hospital, in Eastman, developed the Partners in Central Georgia Networking to Improve Cancer Services Network. This network was created to maximize resources, create economies of scale, and build a learning community to improve cancer services in the region, and will eventually grow to include other medical providers and social service agencies in the region.
The two main health related problems that this Rural Health Network hopes to begin to address is 1) Many residents in this region do not diagnose and treat cancer in the early stages because of their lack of resources or their lack of knowledge about existing resources, and 2) The use of electronic medical records is sporadic and there is not a network to enable an exchange of medical records between medical providers. These two problems are different, but solving them will require a region-wide approach to provide access to cancer preventative care and treatment and unite medical providers in the region through the use and exchange of electronic medical records. No one medical provider or hospital can undertake these projects alone, a network must be developed to address these problems.