Research

Arizona Telemedicine Technology Assessment Program

Introduction

The Arizona Telemedicine Technology Assessment Programs mission is to assess a full range of telemedicine technologies including video imaging, networks, picture archiving and communication systems, and end-user equipment and appliances. The goals are: to evaluate state-of-the-art telemedicine equipment and telecommunications systems; and to transfer the technologies into clinical practice.

Background

The Digital Imaging Group at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, was formed in the summer of 1973 at the invitation of M. Paul Capp, M.D. the former Radiology Department Chairman. The group's founding director was Sol Nudelman, Ph.D., and the chief participating radiologist was Theron W. Ovitt, M.D. who is the current Radiology Department Chairman and Associate Director of The Arizona Telemedicine Program. The Group's current Director is William J. Dallas, Ph.D. The purpose of the group was to investigate the application of computers and photo-electronic imaging devices to diagnostic radiology. (See Chronology of Video Imaging Projects by Faculty and Staff.)

In 1990, Ronald S. Weinstein, M.D. was recruited to the University of Arizona as Professor and Head of the Department of Pathology. A pioneer in the field telepathology, Dr. Weinstein directed a telepathology program in Chicago prior to coming to Arizona. In 1991, he established a biomedical imaging laboratory and, in 1993, the Arizona-International Telemedicine Network , with service sites in three Arizona communities as well as in Mexico and China. The network has rendered telepathology diagnoses on over 350 cases.

The Arizona Telemedicine Program was formally established in 1996, and Dr. Weinstein was appointed its Director. That year, the legislature of the State of Arizona provided $1,236,000 for the Arizona Telemedicine Network, a component of the Program. An additional $125,000 was provided by the Arizona Department of Health Services and a $141,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture completed initial extramural funding for the first year of operation of the Arizona Telemedicine Program. The College of Medicine contributed additional funds to create the Arizona Telemedicine Program, to provide oversight, leadership and strategic planning for the various telemedicine programs.