The chief executive officer of Medweb, a San Francisco-based medical-software-and-device company, Dr. Peter “Pete” Killcommons is an avid proponent of telemedicine, especially its use in developing nations to improve access to health care. Recently, Dr. Peter Killcommons traveled to Cape Verde, Africa, to study the results of the nationwide implementation of a telemedicine program.
Loosely defined, telemedicine is the use of information and communication technologies to provide health care services where distance and inaccessibility present considerable challenges. Based on these criteria, health care professionals decided to institute a range of telemedicine initiatives in Cape Verde, a string of islands off the western coast of Africa.
Initial analyses of Cape Verde’s telemedicine services indicated tremendous promise. From November 2011 to December 2013, researchers used a strategic approach known as “initiate-build-operate-transfer” to analyze data collected while Cape Verde adopted and instituted a national telemedicine network and virtual education network. In November 2014, Telemedicine Journal and E-health published the results of this study in an article that declared the launch of these networks “successful” and called the initial results “encouraging.”
A follow-up study, published in the NCBI journal Acta Medica Portuguesa in April 2017, looked at information from 2013 and 2014 to support claims that telemedicine has helped to significantly reduce existing health care inequalities in Cape Verde. However, it cautioned that not all of the success stories associated with telemedicine are supported by authoritative data.
American Telemedicine Association
Founder and CEO of the telemedicine platform Medweb, Peter Killcommons, MD, has offered medical aid in the form of guidance and Medweb services to various international communities. While visiting Jalalabad, Afghanistan, he assisted in installing medical equipment and training doctors. Dr. Peter (Pete) Killcommons is also a member of the American Telemedicine Association (ATA).
With the mission of improving health care delivery around the globe, the ATA partners with international telehealth groups through its Global Partners program. Partnerships established through the program build a global alliance that can benefit worldwide health care via shared resources and joint projects.
Among its Global Partners projects, the ATA has set up a fund to raise money for international telemedicine charities. Donations are accepted for three charities: the Swinfen Charitable Trust, Icons in Medicine, and Project HOPE. ATA members as well as corporations, foundations, and individuals can donate to the fund. Contributions are either general or can be earmarked for one of the three listed charities.
First Armenian International Telemedicine Congress
A physician, medical imaging expert, and philanthropist, Dr. Peter Killcommons served as the keynote speaker at the First Armenian International Telemedicine Congress in Yerevan, Armenia, in October 2011. Held on the campus of Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) State University (RAU), the Congress included 287 participants, more than 50 of whom were international residents. The event was co-hosted by the Armenian Association of Telemedicine and the Union of Information Technology Enterprises, as well as global non-governmental organizations Armenian Telemedicine Association and the Society for Telemedicine and eHealth.
Dr. Pete Killcommons provided the Congress with details about his recent work with Nangahar University Hospital and Nangahar Public Hospital to bring a modern, computerized telemedicine system to eastern Afghanistan. The Congress also featured a variety of scientific sessions, lectures, panel discussions, and roundtable discussions on the subjects of telemedicine technologies, commerce, and education.
The primary goals of the Armenian International Telemedicine Congress are to allow Armenians interested in health information and communication technology (ICT) to communicate with an international audience; to provide a venue for local, regional, and international health ICT professionals to meet each other; and to facilitate opportunities for global ICT professionals to share their work with the general public.
First Armenian International Telemedicine Congress
Accomplished physician and philanthropist Dr. Pete Killcommons gave the keynote presentation at the First Armenian International Telemedicine Congress, speaking about the inherent challenges of expanding telemedicine practices in underserved areas of Afghanistan.
Telemedicine is a broad term that refers to the exchange of medical information through electronic communication. For example, this can mean video chatting between a general physician and a specialist, the exchange of x-rays, or even assistance in diagnosis, among other things. Though heavily reliant on current technology, telemedicine is indispensable to residents of rural areas who do not have easy access to health care.
The Congress, including 287 physicians, technology professionals, and students, allowed attendees to discuss the possibilities of future collaboration as telemedicine becomes increasingly available. While in Armenia, Dr. Peter Killcommons donated a web-based system to help Armenian medical practitioners in underserved areas.
Dr. Pete Killcommons has traveled internationally to donate time and resources to hospitals and medical personnel. He is the founder and CEO of Medweb, which provides a web-based platform to address telemedicine needs.