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The U.S. Distance Learning Association honored the Arizona Telemedicine Program with two of the association’s most prestigious awards, at its national meeting on May 10 in St. Louis.

The Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) was honored with a 21st Century Award for Best Practices in Distance Learning. In addition, ATP co-founder and former state senator Robert “Bob” Burns was the recipient of the USDLA Annual Eagle Award, given annually to a public figure who has achieved national recognition for his or her commitment to furthering the goals of distance learning.

National telehealth policy and law leader Alexis Gilroy, JD, will speak at SPS 2016.

Full disclosure: I’m the co-coordinator of the conference I’m about to tell you about. But—still on the full disclosure front—I’m a cynical person who doesn’t get excited easily. I’ve been going to healthcare and telehealth conferences since 2005, so I’ve become a little jaded when it comes to listening to presentations and panels.

And yet, I’m very excited about SPS 2016.

Image depicting Health devices are increasingly “connected”

From connected refrigerators that display the latest family photos to connected buttons that instantly place an order for laundry detergent when you press them, the Internet of Things is vast and growing rapidly. Health care is not immune to this new connected fever. Health care leaders and innovators are quickly developing connected health things that offer powerful new ways to care for people.

Summit Healthcare Regional Medical Center located in Show Low, Arizona.

Show Low is a city of about 11,000 in the White Mountains of northeastern Arizona, a summer vacation haven. The city got its name after a high-stakes poker game in which one of the players met the other’s challenge to “show low” with a deuce of clubs. The winner’s take was a 100,000-acre ranch. The game is said to have been played by “early settlers” of the city, which was founded in 1870.

But Show Low is becoming better known today for its Summit Healthcare Regional Medical Center, an 89-bed hospital serving a 3,300 square mile area. Services offered include a level-two nursery; cardiac care; home health care; general, vascular and plastic surgery; a cancer center that offers radiation and medical oncology; and wound care and hyperbaric center.

Telemedicine in Arizona

Congratulations to The Arizona Republic on its 125 years of publishing in Arizona. As part of its anniversary celebration, the newspaper compiled several historical Top 10 lists, including “Top 10 Health Stories from Arizona in the past 125 years,” by Ken Alltucker.  

The list includes the 1918 flu pandemic, Arizona’s Medicaid launch, the state’s first heart-transplant surgery, formation of an early multi-hospital system (Samaritan Health, now Banner Health), hosting of a tuberculosis colony in the 1920s and 30s, producing and testing scorpion anti-venom, pioneering brain surgery, making strides in genomic medicine research, the Affordable Care Act, and telemedicine advances.

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