The Arizona Telemedicine Program Blog

I’ve been a healthcare executive for more than 15 years in Tucson, and I like to think that I have seen a lot in my tenure. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Nor could anything have prepared me for leading close to 6,000 team members through a once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic. Though 15 months later the health crisis still isn’t over, we are in a much better position to reflect on all the work that was done in the past year. Sometimes it seems like it was all a dream, or maybe I am still trying to catch up on lost sleep.

Once the severity of the pandemic was known, we knew we were in this for the long haul. With information changing by the hour, we quickly jumped into action and addressed how we would provide care to our community, who were afraid and confused, as well as provide a safe workplace for our frontline teams who were, and still are the most essential of workers. 

Competencies that should be covered in a teletherapy training for behavioral health professionals

Teletherapy practice requires a consistent application of evidence-based competencies for the best patient outcomes, but many clinicians practice teletherapy without even realizing that they are missing key competencies. As the CEO of the Telehealth Certification Institute, a teletherapy training provider of over 22,000 clinicians, I’ve noticed that students are often surprised with how much their practice competencies develop after they attend a rigorous teletherapy training.

Unfortunately, graduate-level counseling programs rarely feature teletherapy coursework in their curriculums. Clinical instruction for on-site therapy is still the main focus for most educational institutions, despite the rise in evidence that supports telemental health.

Social health helps our physical and mental health too.

When it comes to health and wellness, one’s physical health and abilities are often at the forefront. In fact, it’s only recently that mental health is more often addressed in society, though mental health stigmas are still prevalent.

However, our overall health and wellness has several facts, with physical, social, and mental health each being a part. Intellectual, spiritual, vocational, and dimensional are also dimensions of our wellness. While both physical and mental health are hugely important, social health greatly impacts our health too.

Everyone knows a woman who has effortlessly taken on a myriad of tasks to care of their family, friends, coworkers and loved ones. They may be a mom, daughter, sister, friend, teacher, nurse, community health worker or even yourself. Women are usually the caregiver or leader in making health choices for their families. Women take on all these different roles, sometimes doing three of them at the same time, so how can we support them?

In rural Arizona, many residents struggle with access to services, transportation, and a living wage job. At the same time, health care providers contend with keeping a vibrant skilled workforce to meet the needs in their community. This policy brief from the National Rural Health Association outlines how rural women face several barriers including lack of health insurance, unemployment, high rates of chronic medical conditions, maternal morbidity and mortality, aging issues and intimate partner violence. As a result, there exists many health disparities among women and their families.

Let’s face it. For many people in the USA, the language services industry (translation and interpreting) is an unknown field. Sure, they know about the translators who work at the UN, but beyond that, there isn’t any real comprehension of what translators and interpreters do, let alone what distinguishes a professional in these fields from a “bilingual” or what the difference between a translator and an interpreter is.

But the language services field is a $5 billion-a-year industry in the USA (’s a pretty big paycheck for something that seems like a well-kept secret. And a good portion of that industry is in the medical domain. So, there are many players in the field competing for those dollars. But how do you tell the good ones from the bad? How do you make sure that the language service provider you are working with is professional and will deliver quality services? There are several ways you can ensure that you are getting a quality product.

As with any healthcare innovation that is disruptive in nature, it takes validation and time, as well as the right catalyst before it gets completely embraced by the global community as a feasible solution. With the ongoing COVID-19 global health emergency, one such innovation that acquired center stage for being highly functional and transformed healthcare delivery in a never-seen-before manner was telemedicine.  

Just last year, telemedicine grew from less than 1% of primary care visits to nearly 43.5% in a mere span of two months (February to April). 

With telemedicine’s current rapid adoption rate and trajectory, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that this state-of-the-art innovation holds the potential to turn the medical industry completely upside-down, redefining the way in which health systems deliver care, operate, and manage costs. This will further set the foundation for a highly optimized and tailored healthcare experience in the future.

To illustrate the impact telemedicine will make in the future, we have come up with a few predictions backed by robust statistical data. 

Teledentistry is the union of dentistry and telehealth (or telemedicine).  The state of the union is very strong.

The Telehealth industry is booming.  The Covid-19 virus changed everything.  Research by McKinsey & Company reveals that while only 11 percent of consumers used telehealth in 2019, 46 percent were using these remote services by May of 2020 to replace canceled office visits. [1]  McKinsey went further to predict that the telehealth industry could grow to a quarter of a trillion dollars. (2)  Telehealth investment, according to the Mercom Capital group venture finding in digital health in 2020 came to $14.8 billion. 3  Telemedicine was the top funded category and led Venture Capital funding activity with $4.3 billion, a 139% Year-Over-Year increase compared to $1.8 billion in 2019.


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