The Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) has labored for two decades to bring innovative telemedicine services into the mainstream as a health-care delivery system in Arizona and around the world. “We’re finally hitting paydirt, the so-called ‘upslope’ of the S-curve for innovation,” said Ronald S. Weinstein, MD, ATP co-founding director.
“Corporate and governmental users of the ATP’s training and technical assistance programs are now flocking to the new generation of telemedicine service providers to outsource selected medical services to online doctors and nurses,” said Dr. Weinstein.
Contracts are being signed at an impressive rate. Banner Health is partnering with Doctor On Demand to offer its consumers access to doctors via desktop, tablet or smartphone for routine health matters. The University of Arizona is offering the same type of “retail” telemedicine services to its employees through the Arizona Department of Administration medical plans. The Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale has partnered with InTouch Health to standardize and consolidate its emergency tele-neurology services nationwide. Insurers such as UnitedHealthcare are partnering with multiple telemedicine service providers to offer their customers convenient access to care. A telemedicine benefit is being incorporated into millions of insurance policies.
In response to the explosive growth of the market for telemedicine services, the ATP has announced it will organize and host the third national Telemedicine and Telehealth Service Provider Showcase Conference (SPS 2017) in Phoenix, Oct. 2-3, 2017. The ATP and its Southwest Telehealth Resouce Center (SWTRC) division (covering the Four Corners states plus Nevada) organized and sponsored the first national SPS conference in October 2014 and the second SPS conference in June 2016, both in Phoenix.
“It’s become the ‘go-to’ meeting for telemedicine service providers nationally. The last two SPS conferences received rave evaluations from the attendees,” said Dr. Weinstein. SPS has been a smash success since its inception. SPS 2016 saw a 58 percent increase in attendees over the first SPS, with nearly 400 participants coming from 36 states and four countries, as well as an expo hall of 40 exhibitors. The ATP anticipates SPS 2017 will continue this pattern of growth, with about 500 attendees, Dr. Weinstein added.
The SPS conference focuses on building partnerships to bring quality medical specialty services directly into hospitals, clinics, private practices, schools and other entities through telehealth technology. The goals are to improve patient care and outcomes and to increase market share for both health-care providers and their partners, the telehealth service providers and technology solutions companies showcased at the conference.
“This is the only national meeting specifically focused on clinical telehealth services,” Dr. Weinstein said.
Although SPS is a national meeting, it has major economic and health-care benefits for Arizona. The ATP has been the leader in attracting telemedicine service companies into the state. The ATP and SWTRC host a national, online directory of telehealth service providers. Today, of 108 telemedicine service provider companies listed, 48 are doing business in Arizona.
SPS attendees receive practical advice from nationally recognized telehealth experts on building successful programs; forming effective partnerships; and negotiating legal, regulatory and payment hurdles. The SPS expo hall is a networking forum showcasing a broad array of tele-medical specialty services and models.
The SPS conference is co-hosted by the ATP, the SWTRC, and the Four Corners Telehealth Consortium. Four past presidents of the American Telemedicine Association serve as the co-chairs and co-honorary chairs.
For more information: www.TTSPSworld.com
About the Arizona Telemedicine Program
The Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP), an industry leader in telehealth, was established in 1996 by the Arizona State Legislature to provide accessible, top-quality health care to rural Arizonans. ATP strongly supports the growth of telemedicine throughout Arizona and provides a suite of services to its member organizations, including clinical, administrative and information technology (IT) support, telemedicine training, facility design and continuing medical education (CME). More than 60 clinical subspecialty services have been provided through the network, amounting to more than 1.3 million telemedicine cases. ATP is the headquarters for the federally funded Southwest Telehealth Resource Center, which serves Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. ATP has received many national awards for its innovative patient services, distance education and telehealth training programs. For more information: http://telemedicine.arizona.edu
About the Four Corners Telehealth Consortium
The Four Corners Telehealth Consortium (FCTC) was formed in 2004 by academic telemedicine programs in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah to serve as a model for regional telehealth collaboration in the United States, unconstrained by geographical or jurisdictional barriers.
About Dr. Ronald S. Weinstein
Ronald S. Weinstein, MD, is a professor of pathology, pharmacology-science and public health at the University of Arizona Health Sciences. Dr. Weinstein is a pioneer in both telemedicine and telepathology. He participated in his first telemedicine cases in April 1968 as a resident-physician at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston. The MGH-Logan International Airport telemedicine program was the world’s first multi-specialty telemedicine service. Dr. Weinstein was one of two MGH residents who were early participants in the program and is known to many as the “Father of Telepathology.” In 1986, Dr. Weinstein invented, patented and commercialized robotic-telepathology, a service that now brings pathology diagnostic services to hundreds of thousands of patients in more than 30 countries. He co-founded the Arizona Telemedicine Program with Arizona Corporation Commissioner Bob Burns. Dr. Weinstein has received many awards and honors, including the Arizona Medical Association’s Distinguished Service Award, the Association for Pathology Informatics’ Lifetime Achievement Award, and the U.S. Distance Learning Association’s Hall-of-Fame induction award. He was the UA 2012 Technology Innovator of the Year and was the first medical doctor to receive the UA College of Medicine’s Basic Science Educator-of-the-Year Lifetime Teaching Award.
About the University of Arizona Health Sciences
The University of Arizona Health Sciences is the statewide leader in biomedical research and health professions training. The UA Health Sciences includes the UA Colleges of Medicine (Phoenix and Tucson), Nursing, Pharmacy and Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, with main campus locations in Tucson and the growing Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix. From these vantage points, the UA Health Sciences reaches across the state of Arizona and the greater Southwest to provide cutting-edge health education, research, patient care and community outreach services. A major economic engine, the UA Health Sciences employs almost 5,000 people, has nearly 1,000 faculty members and garners more than $126 million in research grants and contracts annually. For more information: http://uahs.arizona.edu (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn)