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The Arizona Telemedicine Program Blog

Peg the Gila Monster lost a leg after she walked into a trap. She can no longer survive in the wild so she lives at the Poison Center and is part of its education program.

A University of Arizona College of Pharmacy program is saving Arizonans millions of dollars a year in health-care costs.

It’s the pharmacy college’s Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center – a public service in operation since1955, when it became the second poison center in the country; the first was launched in Chicago, in 1953.

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.

Stephanie Forbes, PharmD (left), Kate Johnson, RN, and Kevin Boesen, Pharm D.

In 2006, 10 years after he received his PharmD from the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, Kevin Boesen, then a faculty member with the college, decided to follow through on what seemed like a great idea.

Today he is CEO of SinfoniaRx, a medication therapy management company that has outpaced its competitors and has tracked $778 million in healthcare cost savings, while improving medication safety and effectiveness for millions of patients across the country.

February 28, 2017 is Rare Disease Day, and the Arizona Carcinoid & Neuroendocrine Cancer Foundation, Inc. is collaborating with Banner/MD Anderson and the Arizona Telemedicine Program to present an educational event about this rare cancer.    

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.


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