A patient admitted to a rural Emergency Department with stroke symptoms is immediately connected via an audio/video system to a stroke specialist hundreds of miles away. The specialist conducts an assessment and determines that the patient should be given the clot-busting drug TPA. The patient survives the stroke and recuperates quickly. Without telemedicine and the timely intervention, this patient’s chances of survival would have diminished significantly.
Tele-stroke programs like this are only one of the many telemedicine and telehealth services that reduce barriers to care, improve patient access to specialists, help medical practitioners expand their practice reach and save patients from having to travel or be transported to receive expert specialty care.
To help connect telemedicine and telehealth medical specialty providers with health-care systems that need their services, the award-winning Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) is organizing the first annual Telemedicine and Telehealth Service Provider Showcase (SPSTM), to be held October 6-7 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Phoenix, Ariz.
SPS will focus on building partnerships for bringing quality medical specialty services directly into hospitals, clinics, private practices and even patients’ homes. The goals are to improve patient care and outcomes and to increase market share for both health-care providers and telehealth service providers they partner with.
“There is a huge pent-up demand for telemedicine and telehealth services in the United States and world-wide. The problem is matching up the service providers with patients, who often are separated by economic or geographic barriers,” said Ronald S. Weinstein, MD, co-founder of the ATP, president-emeritus of the American Telemedicine Association and a pioneer in the telemedicine field. “It’s been unbelievably challenging, but the playing field is finally changing. There now are many success stories worth sharing. The SPS conference aims at tackling the patient-access logjam. This will be a breakthrough event!”
Telemedicine and telehealth specialty services have come into their own as technology has become more affordable and as competition among health-care companies increases. The market for commercial telemedicine services is exploding.
“Finally, barriers to implementing telemedicine services are being successfully overcome,” said Elizabeth A. Krupinski, PhD, a professor at the University of Arizona and past president of the American Telemedicine Association. “Many states have passed parity legislation that mandates reimbursement for telemedicine services. This is big news and a real breakthrough. The availability of clinical practice guidelines and the rapid expansion of mobile health is creating a surge in telemedicine service providers, improving health care for patients throughout the world.”
Offering a broad array of tele-medical specialty services and models in a single expo hall, SPS will provide a forum for seeing and discussing the latest trends in clinical telehealth. Attendees will receive a wealth of practical information for both health-care providers and best-of-breed telehealth service vendors.
SPS is expected to draw 300-400 attendees, including national and state government officials and policy makers; corporate executives exploring telemedicine, telehealth and mobile health; hospital and health-care administrators; telehealth legal, regulatory and reimbursement managers; telemedicine and telehealth service providers; physicians and nurses in private practice; patient navigators and advocates; health-care consumers; and telemedicine/telehealth equipment and solutions vendors.
Teleradiology, telecardiology, teledermatology, teleneurology, telestroke, telepsychiatry, teleurgent care, teleprimary care, telehomecare, telehospice and teleICU are just a few of the medical services that will be highlighted.
SPS will feature a series of presentations and panels covering key topics such as telemedicine sustainability; telehealth business models that work; telestroke saves lives; the Affordable Care Act—leveraging patient coordination mandates into profits; vetting telemedicine service companies; and innovative telemedicine and telehealth solutions.
“There is no doubt that the challenge for making telemedicine successful on a large scale is to find ways to broker relationships between telemedicine service providers and patients, the service end users,” said Dale C. Alverson, MD, founder of the New Mexico Telehealth Alliance and past president of the American Telemedicine Association. “That problem has been largely solved for teleradiology, telestroke and remote coverage of intensive care unit beds. I estimate that leaves about 60 medical specialties in need of jump starts. The SPS Convention’s success will be measured in terms of additional telemedicine services going mainstream in the near future.”
SPS is co-hosted by the ATP; the Southwest Telehealth Resource Center and the Four Corners Telehealth Consortium, which includes the Arizona Health Sciences Center at the University of Arizona; University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus; the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center; and University of Utah Health Care.
The SPS co-chairs are nationally and internationally renowned experts in the field: Drs. Alverson, Krupinski and Weinstein; Marta J. Petersen, MD, vice-chair and professor of dermatology at the University of Utah; and Jay H. Shore, MD, associate medical director of the Colorado Physicians Health Program and associate professor of psychiatry, Centers for the American Indian and Alaska Native Health, University of Colorado.
More information about SPS is at www.TTSPSworld.com
Arizona Telemedicine Program
The Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) was established in 1996 by the Arizona State Legislature to provide accessible, top-quality health care to rural Arizonans. ATP strongly supports the growth of telemedicine throughout Arizona and provides a suite of services to its member organizations, including clinical, administrative and information technology (IT) support, telemedicine training, facility design and continuing medical education (CME). More than 60 clinical subspecialty services have been provided through the network, amounting to more than 1.3 million telemedicine cases. ATP is home to the federally funded Southwest Telehealth Resource Center, which serves Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. ATP has received many national awards for its innovative education and training programs.
Four Corners Telehealth Consortium
The Four Corners Telehealth Consortium (FCTC) was formed in 2004 by academic telemedicine programs in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado to serve as a model for regional telehealth collaboration in the United States, unconstrained by geographical or jurisdictional barriers. Representatives of telehealth and health information initiatives in the four states have been developing specific collaborative initiatives including establishment of an interstate licensure process, coordination of a virtual “eHealth” University for distance learning, coordination of provision of telehealth clinical services representing best practices and a process for interstate disaster response.