Phyllis Webster, Telemedicine Case Coordinator for ATP

Graduate school or full-time job?

That was the question Phyllis Webster was pondering after getting her bachelor’s degree in cultural and biological anthropology from the University of Arizona. In late 1996, she opted for full-time job, as a research specialist with the newly formed Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP).

Drs. Dale Alverson and Elizabeth Krupinski interview Dr. Alan Pitt during a Lightning Round on day two of the SPS conference.

As CEO of GlobalMed, a world leader in telemedicine innovation operating in more than 35 countries, Joel Barthelemy goes to a lot of conferences. As in a lot.

He thinks the Telemedicine and Telehealth Service Provider Showcase, held Oct. 6 and 7 in Phoenix, may be the first one he’s ever attended in its entirety.

“The information shared was some of the best I’ve ever encountered,” Mr. Barthelemy said, after attending the conference. “There was little commercialism, and the information imparted to us was very valuable. The feedback I received from clinicians who were there was astounding. They truly felt this was a valuable use of their time.”

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.

Sara Gibson, MD

In Arizona, Sara Gibson, MD, a psychiatrist with Northern Arizona Regional Behavioral Health Authority in Flagstaff, was the first to practice psychiatry via telemedicine.

It was November 1996, and Gibson had just returned to work after being on maternity leave. “I was covering Apache County, on the New Mexico border, where there are only two towns, St. Johns and Springerville,” she recalls.

Telemedicine and Telehealth Service Provider Showcase Chairs

A long-recognized leader in telemedicine innovation, the Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) is establishing another first.

ATP is joining forces with the Four Corners Telehealth Consortium and the Southwest Telehealth Resource Center to host the first-ever Telemedicine and Telehealth Service Provider Showcase, October 6th and 7th, at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Phoenix.

The Service Provider Showcase (SPS) will bring together companies that provide medical specialty services using telemedicine technology to hospitals, clinics, health-care systems, private practices and other providers that want to offer these services to their patients.

“Our industry has reached critical mass,” said Ronald S. Weinstein, MD, director and co-founder of the ATP, president emeritus of the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), honorary co-chair of SPS and a pioneer in the telemedicine field. “It’s time to create an environment in which service providers can gather with health-care providers and develop a shared agenda for the future.


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