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mHealth

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.

Pediatric nurse practitioner Amber Wright schedules initial patient visits for 90 minutes. A follow-up visit is 60 minutes, or sometimes 45.

The reason for these longer-than-usual appointments is that Wright is certified in the field of developmental pediatrics, in which she focuses her practice on children with developmental disabilities.

Ryan Casey, MD, is in his third-year of residency training in family and community medicine at Yuma Regional Medical Center, a 406-bed hospital less than 10 miles from the Mexican border in southwestern Arizona.

A man who holds citizenship in both Mexico and the U.S., Dr. Casey is committed to providing care to patients in both countries.

Dr. Waer (center) visiting Tuba Regional Medical Center’s telemedicine facility with Janet Major and Lynn Bedonie

Amy Waer, MD, professor of surgery and associate dean for medical education at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, has taken on a new major responsibility, as medical director of the Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP).

Her goal is to leverage all three roles to enhance medical education opportunities in rural Arizona. 

“I especially like having the opportunity to use my position as associate dean to work with telemedicine and link the two together,” said Dr. Waer, who was named ATP medical director in June.  

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