It’s been a great 20 years.
It was back in 1993 that Bob Burns
– then a State Representative, now a
Commissioner with the Arizona Corporation
Commission - presented his immodest
proposal to Jim Dalen, MD, Vice President
for Health Sciences and Dean of the College
of Medicine at the University of Arizona.
Burns’ idea was to create a pilot
telemedicine program, to try to expand
health care options for people in rural
Arizona. Dalen’s response was an emphatic
“Yes!” Ronald S. Weinstein, MD, was then
head of the Department of Pathology,
and already working in telepathology, a
branch of telemedicine. When Dalen asked
Weinstein if he would head up the project,
the response was equally affirmative.
The Arizona Legislature provided the funds
to start the Arizona Telemedicine Program
(ATP) three years later, and has funded it
every year since.
ATP went live in 1996 from its home
base at the University of Arizona, via
telecommunications links with the Mariposa
Community Health Center in Nogales,
Arizona, and the state Department of
Corrections prison in Yuma.
Since then, the program has grown
exponentially and stimulated the growth of
many affiliated programs in Arizona.
ATP’s broadband network now connects
to 160 sites in more than 70 Arizona
communities. Number of cases handled:
more than 1 million.
Now a patient in a remote community can
benefit from immediate access to highly
trained specialists who can diagnose the
patient’s cardiac or skin condition or stroke
as rapidly – and as accurately – as if the
patient and specialist were in the same room.
This report will give you a look at some of
Arizona’s outstanding telemedicine programs.
• A tele-echocardiography system in Yuma
Regional Medical Center’s neonatal
ICU, enabling rapid diagnosis of critical
cardiac conditions in newborns. (Page 4)
• A nationally recognized distance-learning
program for physicians, nurses and other
health professionals. (Page 12)
• Flagstaff Medical Center’s long-distance
monitoring program for patients with
congestive heart failure – including
patients without electricity in their homes
• A teleophthalmology program for Native
Americans that provides early detection