Friday, June 27, 2008

Technology connects rural patients to specialists

"The Yuma Regional Medical Center (YRMC) has been 'beaming up' doctors from around the state for the past few years," Jennifer Lovell writes for the Yuma Sun. "For patients who can't afford to visit specialists outside the area, YRMC's partnership with the Arizona Telemedicine Program connects patients through new technology."

The Arizona Telemedicine Program and YRMC received a favorable review last month from Dr. Ronald Wenstenin, director of the program at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center. "Telemedicine is the practice of medicine at a distance using video imaging and telecommunications technologies," Weinstein wrote in an e-mail. "The Arizona Telemedicine Program is a large statewide program. It provides the telecommunications infrastructure for telemedicine, telemedicine training and many telemedicine services over its network."

YRMC applications administrator Mike Sisson (in Yuma Sun photo) works with telemedicine for children's services. He said that he works mostly with children who are in wheelchairs and whose families cannot afford to drive outside Yuma to visit a physician or specialists. "Sometime it is the only way (for rural patients) to see the doctor."

"Gregory Warda specializes in neonatology and works in the intensive care unit with newborn babies at YRMC, "Lovell writes. "This is a great solution," Warda said. "We can see the nurses and doctors (through the screen). It's jsut lie hem were right here, and I can ask the doctor questions instead of writing a letter." Weinstein would like YRMC to be an example to other hospitals who would like to implement the program, which could benefit rural patients nationwide.

No comments: