Arizona Telemedicine May 2014 - Page 7

It’s been a great 20 years. It was back in 1993 that Bob Burns – then a State Representative, now a Commissioner with the Arizona Corporation Commission - presented his immodest proposal to Jim Dalen, MD, Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean of the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona. Burns’ idea was to create a pilot telemedicine program, to try to expand health care options for people in rural Arizona. Dalen’s response was an emphatic “Yes!” Ronald S. Weinstein, MD, was then head of the Department of Pathology, and already working in telepathology, a branch of telemedicine. When Dalen asked Weinstein if he would head up the project, the response was equally affirmative. The Arizona Legislature provided the funds to start the Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) three years later, and has funded it every year since. ATP went live in 1996 from its home base at the University of Arizona, via telecommunications links with the Mariposa Community Health Center in Nogales, Arizona, and the state Department of Corrections prison in Yuma. Since then, the program has grown exponentially and stimulated the growth of many affiliated programs in Arizona. ATP’s broadband network now connects to 160 sites in more than 70 Arizona communities. Number of cases handled: more than 1 million. Chris Martin Assistant Director T-Health Institute Nancy Rowe Associate Director Outreach Bonnie Schellenberg Accounting Manager Now a patient in a remote community can benefit from immediate access to highly trained specialists who can diagnose the patient’s cardiac or skin condition or stroke as rapidly – and as accurately – as if the patient and specialist were in the same room. This report will give you a look at some of Arizona’s outstanding telemedicine programs. For example: • A tele-echocardiography system in Yuma Regional Medical Center’s neonatal ICU, enabling rapid diagnosis of critical cardiac conditions in newborns. (Page 4) • A nationally recognized distance-learning program for physicians, nurses and other health professionals. (Page 12) • Flagstaff Medical Center’s long-distance monitoring program for patients with congestive heart failure – including patients without electricity in their homes (Page 20). • A teleophthalmology program for Native Americans that provides early detection and treatme