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Google Glass

When a woman’s breast cancer metastasized to her knee, University of Arizona orthopaedic surgeons Jordan Smith, MD, and Jason Wild, MD, used Google Glass to turn an exceedingly rare case of patellar reconstruction into an exceptionally teachable moment.

Kimberly Shea, PhD, RN, assistant professor at the UA College of Nursing, will examine the use of real-time video from mini iPads to visualize patients, their environment, and medications. The study will support on-call hospice nurses’ management of patients’ physical and emotional symptoms, while helping reduce caregiver stress and discomfort.

These studies and 11 others have received funding from the Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP), through its competitive Innovation Awards program, launched in December 2013. ATP Innovation Awards provide equipment grants of up to $2,500 to Arizona Health Sciences Center researchers who want to explore the potential of Google Glass, tablets and other mobile technologies in health care.

Pete Yonsetto, Video Conferencing Administrator

When Pete Yonsetto applied for an opening with the Arizona Telemedicine Program, he wasn’t sure it was the right job for him.

But a college professor was adamant. “Apply!” she ordered. So he did. And he got the job.

Today – 14 years later – there is no doubt in Yonsetto’s mind that the job is a perfect fit. Telemedicine is all about connections. And so is he.

Telemedicine enables me

I hate telemedicine. Actually, to be more specific, I hate the word, telemedicine. It conjures visions of technology, not care—something futuristic, expensive, something only for people far away.

However, at it’s core, telemedicine is an opportunity to change how we care for each other by bringing people together in time, enabling “reassurance” when we or a loved one is most vulnerable.

Most people think of telemedicine as two people brought together over video for care. In healthcare there are advantages of video over voice. Looking another person in the eye, even via a monitor, provides the blink, the sense for the provider of the patient’s over all health. And for the patient, there is a sense of comfort, that the other person sees me, understands me. However, video alone is not the answer. 

To truly transform care, the technology has evolved, incorporating other forms of communication and workflow requirements. Texting and voice are the methods of choice for providers to talk to other providers and for providers to talk to patients. Workflow—the ability to schedule and to have comfort there will be someone to answer the “call”—is now part of the solution.

Pristine's HIPPA compliant Google Glass display at ATA 2014

The American Telemedicine Association’s annual trade show is touted as “the world’s largest” for telemedicine, telehealth and mhealth products and services.

For Janet Major, it’s like a trip to Disneyland.

“There’s just always a lot of really cool stuff: new trends, the latest and the greatest, last year’s latest and greatest upgraded to make it even better,” says Major, the Arizona Telemedicine Program’s associate director for facilities. “So yes, for me it absolutely is like going to Disneyland.”


Teleradiology is probably the most advanced part of telemedicine in the United States. For nearly a decade almost all radiologic exams have been digital. The film era of radiology passed into history around the turn of the century.

Since radiologists interpret digital images on a computer workstation using picture archiving and communications software (PACS), the radiologist’s location does not really matter as long as the digital images can be easily transmitted to his or her workstation and the formal radiologic report can be transmitted to the patient’s physicians or other healthcare providers. This transmission of images and reports is usually internal to a hospital or medical center, but it can be across town or across the country.


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