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mHealth

Photo courtesy of Robin Blitz

Parents in rural Arizona used to have just one option if they were worried their child had autism: They had to pack the family into the car and drive for hours to see a developmental pediatrician in Phoenix or Tucson.

Now there’s a program that utilizes telemedicine to provide timely evaluation and diagnosis of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), so families who live in rural and underserved areas – including Hispanic and Native American communities – don’t have to travel far.

Dr. Weinstein demonstrating telepathology during a teaching session.

A medical breakthrough in 1986 has changed the practice of medicine around the world: the invention of telepathology, the diagnosis of surgical pathology slides at a distance.

Invented, patented and commercialized by Ronald S. Weinstein, MD, University of Arizona professor of pathology and founding director of the Arizona Telemedicine Program, telepathology was demonstrated in 1986. A 66-year-old breast cancer patient in El Paso, Texas, had her breast biopsy diagnosis verified by a surgical pathologist in Washington, D.C., via satellite communications and tele-robotic light microscopy.

What would you guess is the most pressing regulatory topic facing state medical boards?

Opioid prescribing? Physician re-entry into practice? Medical marijuana?

Those are all on the list of results from a Federation of State Medical Boards survey. 

But it’s telemedicine that ranks No. 1.

When you hear the phrase “telehealth connections,” you probably think of the literal connection—through wires or Wi-Fi, through dedicated circuits or the internet—between the patient and the health-care provider.

But one telemedicine program is taking pains to ensure that telehealth includes a strong human connection, too.

For a lot of seniors, trying to adapt to new technology – especially when it stands between patient and physician – is stressful at best.

But the Phoenix Veterans Administration Health Care System has found a more user-friendly way to connect patients and doctors through telemedicine.

The Phoenix VA was one of the centers chosen by the National VA Telehealth Technology Office to test Virtual Medical Rooms (VMRs) to connect patients to their clinicians.

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