The Arizona Telemedicine Program Blog

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.

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.

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.


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