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Mariposa Community Health Center telemedicine

Mariposa Community Health Center got its start in 1980 as a small clinic in Nogales, Arizona. It has grown over the years to be the largest provider of medical, dental and community-based health promotion and disease prevention services on the Arizona-Mexico border. 

And in 1996, the clinic expanded its reach by becoming the first clinical site to link to the Arizona Telemedicine Program.

The decision was not a no-brainer. For many Nogales families, going to see a doctor in Tucson, 60 miles away, was a fun family outing, with lunch and shopping on the side. But for many others, the transportation logistics were next to impossible. For them, telemedicine would be a godsend.

But there were concerns about how well it would work.

telestroke computer

Jack Porter isn’t one to admit he had a stroke three years ago.

“I didn’t have a stroke,” he will tell you. “I had a stroke of luck.”

Porter, who has lived in Bisbee since he was two weeks old, was unable to talk or move his left leg or left arm when he arrived at Copper Queen Community Hospital’s emergency room. Daniel Roe, MD, chief medical officer and director of emergency services and telemedicine at Copper Queen, ordered a CT scan that showed a clot forming on the right side of Porter’s brain.

But there was no neurologist at the hospital to advise what to do next. And that’s what led to Porter’s “stroke of luck.”

Telemedicine and a POT (plain old telephone)

"In terms of disease management,” stated Dr. Devi Shetty in Sanjit Bagchi’s article Telemedicine in Rural India, “there is [a] 99% possibility that the person who is unwell does not require [an] operation. If you don't operate you don't need to touch the patient. And if you don't need to touch the patient, you don't need to be there. You can be anywhere, since the decision on healthcare management is based on history and interpretation of images and chemistry...so technically speaking, 99% of health-care problems can be managed by the doctors staying at a remote place—linked by telemedicine.”

 Steve McCrosky sees a patient

Steve McCrosky was 16 when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued its first report of men dying from diseases that very few people had ever heard of. He graduated from high school in 1983, when the collection of illnesses had been named human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV – the cause of acquired immune deficiency syndrome, also known as AIDS.

McCrosky was captivated by the medical and social implications of the growing epidemic. After high school, he enrolled at Northeastern University in Boston, where he received his nursing degree. In 1994, he headed west to San Francisco where he witnessed the AIDS epidemic up close. He realized then that he wanted to be on the front lines of this unprecedented pandemic. In 2001, at the University of California, San Francisco, he completed training to be a family nurse practitioner. 

Baby in neonatal unit

Neonatologist Greg Warda, MD, arrived at Yuma Regional Medical Center 15 years ago, the hospital's only full-time neonatologist, and medical director of its neonatal intensive-care unit.

Back then, Warda's most urgent challenge was determining when a sick baby could remain in the Yuma hospital or needed to be transported to a larger hospital where multiple specialists could oversee the baby's care.

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