Contact Person: Kevin M.
McNeill, Ph.D. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Discussion & Conclusion
Providing a comprehensive approach to the Arizona Telemedicine Program has raised many challenges and offered many rewards. An important benefit is that the program addresses a diverse array of needs and therefore can generate more demand. Since the telecommunications costs for almost any telemedicine endeavor, beyond plain dial-up modem based service, are expensive it is important to gains collaboration and address needs. This will make it more likely that the costs can be distributed among many participants. It also ensures that the program will be able to adapt and adjust to the changing needs of the clients.
The design of a technical infrastructure which is flexible and scalable has proven to be of great importance. As the network has grown rapidly, new requests for applications and membership have also grown. Also, as sites gain experience using the equipment their confidence in the use of the technology grows, leading to more traffic and increased load on both the technology and the personnel. After a year of operation and over 1800 telemedicine sessions both the organization and the infrastructure are adapting well.
As an academic medical center the capabilities for formal evaluation of clinical methods and technology are important for the success of program personnel, as well as contribution to the advancement of telemedicine. Having evaluation capabilities as an integral part of the program also ensure quality control since new techniques and technologies are thoroughly studied and not adopted lightly.
With the inclusion of training components which are multidisciplinary we can be sure to offer a broad base to both remote client site personnel and to the physicians and other health professionals at the service cite. For telemedicine to become a routine component of medicine requires training to develop the confidence of the personnel at both ends of the virtual wire.
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© 1998 Arizona Board of Regents