The Arizona Telemedicine Program Blog

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).

Patients in waiting room

Greg Hales used to really dislike going to the doctor.

“I didn’t dislike the doctor,” he says. “I just really disliked having to listen to whatever terrible news or reality show was blaring from the TV in the waiting room. It was so unpleasant. Then one day I thought, ‘Why don’t I just do something about this?’ That was when I set about creating a series of waiting room video loops, which play in North Country waiting rooms across the system."

Ebola patient care through telemedicine

The boy's eyes are captivated by the voice of the woman in the white starched coat. She seems to be speaking directly to them from the television screen. His mother's face relaxes for the first time in weeks as she holds him and repeats in a soft voice as if to convince herself, "The quarantine is over."


Although not a current reality, medicine has entered the digital age, and this scene may be tomorrow's reality.

Telecommunication technologies impact almost all medical specialties with tools ranging from "full-service" telemedicine systems that allow a near-complete physical exam to be conducted at a distance, to tele-home health units, to self-monitoring devices partnered with mobile technologies.

Digital tools may serve as critical missing puzzle pieces towards the primary goal of Ebola preparedness efforts: control of disease transmission. 

Social media and health care

Did you know that there are more than 75,000 health care professionals on Twitter? That 41 percent of consumers are using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and online forums to select health care providers? Or that social media can help track the spread of fast-moving illnesses like influenza?

When you think of social media in health care, you might think it’s all about marketing. But experts agree, it goes beyond that.

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.”

Doctor holding piggy bank

Academic medical centers scrambling for research dollars should look beyond the limited resources of the NIH to other funding sources – in particular, the Department of Defense.

That’s the advice of Col. (Ret.) Ronald K. Poropatich, MD, executive director for the Center for Military Medicine Research at the University of Pittsburgh, who visited the Arizona Health Sciences Center earlier this year as the inaugural Arizona Telemedicine Program Visiting Professor.

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.


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