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The Arizona Telemedicine Program Blog

I recently had the honor to serve on a panel for the newly incorporated city of Stonecrest, Ga.; a long way from the Southwest, but you’d be surprised at the number of commonalities between the Southeast and Southwest regions of the country.

Ignore geography and weather – if you can – and think about demographics and population. Both regions have large states with significant portions that are very rural. Both regions also have large minority populations that live in both rural and urban sectors, and often have limited access to healthcare for a variety of reasons. They also have large populations that suffer from chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease that often go uncontrolled due in part to lack of ready access to healthcare and health education services.

Enter telemedicine.

A Training Session for Healthcare Professionals
Flagstaff Medical Center - Friday, Nov. 3, 2017
9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

 The Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) and the Southwest Telehealth Resource Center (SWTRC) are offering “Advances in Telemedicine and Telehealth,” a full-day training for healthcare providers and administrators, Nov. 3, at the Flagstaff Medical Center’s McGee Auditorium.

Experts from around Arizona will share their experiences in delivering a variety of telehealth and telemedicine programs to rural communities throughout the state.

“We are proud that Arizona is a national leader in telemedicine,” said Ronald S. Weinstein, MD, founding director of the ATP. “This training program features leaders in Arizona who are taking center stage in telemedicine nationally.”

GlobalMed, a world leader in developing innovative telemedicine and telehealth technology and equipment, will be the lead sponsor of the national Telemedicine and Telehealth Service Provider Showcase (SPS), being held in Phoenix, Oct. 2-3.

“All of us at GlobalMed are honored to be the Conference Partner of the 2017 SPS event,” said Joel E. Barthelemy, founder and CEO of the company.

“We believe SPS is one of the premier gatherings for thought leaders driving the needed changes in the delivery of healthcare.”

Simulation actor Brendan Guy Murphy and UA College of Nursing faculty member Sheri Carson participate in a telehealth simulation

The University of Arizona College of Nursing has launched a telehealth training program for Doctor of Nursing Practice students, likely making it the first nursing school in the country to add the training to its curriculum.

The project is funded with a $26,000 grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Graduate Nursing Education Demonstration, which funds hospital-affiliated nursing schools to develop new approaches to nursing practice.

The Arizona Rural Health Association (AZRHA) honored two individuals and one community hospital for their outstanding contributions to the health and well-being of rural Arizonans. The honorees were announced on July 25 at the association’s annual conference in Flagstaff.

Lung Cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in American women. But for many women who smoke, that well-documented fact is not enough of an incentive to quit.

They know that when they quit, they are likely to gain a lot of weight. And while they would like to quit, they don’t want to risk the extra pounds that follow.

And it’s not just their perception. Many studies have shown the majority of women who quit smoking gain eight to 10 pounds, on average. And women who quit, then return to smoking, often blame their weight gain for their relapse.

The problem

If you need to see a rheumatologist, chances are you’re going to have to wait—especially if you’re in a rural area. According to a 2013 study by the American College of Rheumatology Committee on Rheumatology Training and Workforce Issues, rheumatologists are in very short supply in the United States—and as the population ages, they are becoming even more in demand.

In addition to treating the more than 50 million Americans with arthritis, rheumatologists treat other diseases, like lupus, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and scleroderma. These specialists not only have completed four years of medical school and a three-year residency, but also have undergone an additional two to three years of training in a rheumatology fellowship.

So how do we in Arizona address this workforce issue without making patients travel long distances to be seen, often after waiting months for an appointment?


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