Sunday, December 6, 2009

New Telemedicine Centers Underway

To develop innovative healthcare education initiatives, the University of Arizona’s Phoenix Biomedical Campus has just opened the Institute for Advanced Telemedicine and Telehealth or referred to as the T-Health Institute. The Institute is working in partnership with Arizona State University.

The facility has the T-Health Amphitheater, a state-of-the-art videoconferencing facility loaded with highly innovative custom designed social networking platforms. The amphitheater is one of the three urban hubs of the Arizona Telemedicine Program’s vast statewide “virtual campus” that stretches throughout Arizona and links to 71 rural and urban communities.

The new T-Health Institute’s advanced video conferencing techniques were developed by Dr. Ronald Weinstein, Founding Director of the UA Telemedicine Program and Richard A. McNeely, Director of Biomedical Communications at UA’s Arizona Health Sciences Center.

Dr. Weinstein reports that it is now time to begin to redesign our healthcare education system. For the past century, healthcare workers have been educated in profession-specific “silos” which means that students in medical schools, nursing schools, pharmacy schools, and allied health professional schools often find communicating with each other to be limited. As a result, the coordination of training in the various health professions is uncommon at most U.S. universities.”

To help implement health IT, the Arizona Telemedicine Program with funding from HHS will serve as the Southwest Regional Telehealth Resource Center to provide training and technical assistance in telehealth and electronic health record implementation.

In California, the new University of California San Diego Medical Education and Telemedicine Center is scheduled to open in the fall of 2011. The facility will be a hub for learning using state-of-the-art design and technology to prepare medical students to become physicians and innovators of tomorrow. The facility will be used by physicians to learn new skills using the latest advances in medical and surgical technology as well as being able to work with surgical robotics. In addition, the new facility will be a regional and statewide center for new initiatives in tele-education and telemedicine.

The 21st century facility will enable tomorrow’s physicians to learn the art and science of medicine by being involved in small academic communities where advanced clinical and research training will be delivered using high tech biomedical simulation along with telemedicine learning laboratories.