Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Peter Killcommons’

New Fisher House Slated for Columbia, Missouri

March 2, 2017
Fisher House Foundation pic

Fisher House Foundation
Image: fisherhouse.org

Dr. Peter “Pete” Killcommons currently serves as the CEO of MedWeb, a company that specializes in mobile medical technologies that can be deployed in developing countries. Outside of his professional life, Peter Killcommons is a longtime supporter of Fisher House.

Fisher House Foundation recently announced the selection of 14 new sites to place Fisher Houses, including Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital in Columbia, Missouri. Similar to the mission of Ronald McDonald Houses, Fisher Houses provide families crucial support by allowing them to live free of charge while their loved ones are receiving inpatient hospital treatment at VA medical centers.

Truman Memorial spokesman Stephen Gaither said that the hospital sees veterans from 43 surrounding counties, meaning that some families have to travel long distances for their loved ones to receive treatment. Fisher House Foundation president Dave Coker said he believes the Columbia Fisher House could begin construction as soon as 2018. Thus far, Fisher House Foundation is responsible for a total of 71 houses built near VA hospital facilities and military bases.

Grassroots Disaster Training for Youth through WorldCares Center

January 4, 2017
WorldCares Center pic

WorldCares Center
Image: worldcares.org

Peter (Pete) Killcommons, CEO of medical imaging and communications group Medweb, leads all aspects of company operations, including the group’s disaster response division. On a personal level, Peter Killcommons contributes to such relief organizations as the American Red Cross and World Cares Center.

Dedicated to helping communities prepare for and respond to disaster, WorldCares Center provides in an effort to achieve these goals a variety of grassroots training sessions. Programs are available to all members of the general public, who benefit from understanding their community’s needs and risk factors in a public emergency. WorldCares begins raising community awareness of these issues with its Grassroots Readiness and Response Overview training, which introduces participants to the resources they have and the skills they need to act appropriately during an emergency.

In addition, young citizens may participate in community awareness, disaster volunteering, and individual and family preparedness programs specifically designed for their age group. In these training programs, youth learn about the impact of natural and human-driven disasters while developing the leadership and problem-solving skills they would need in such a situation. Dedicated to empowering young people in disaster response, WorldCares also offers a youth-focused Train the Trainer series, which prepares participants to be emergency readiness leaders in their own communities.

VA-sponsored Study Suggests Telemedicine can Help Veterans with PTSD

March 11, 2016
JAMA Psychiatry pic

JAMA Psychiatry
Image: archpsyc.jamanetwork.com

Peter (Pete) Killcommons, MD, CEO of Medweb, has been involved in telemedicine services for nearly 25 years. In addition to his extensive work in rural communities, Dr. Peter (Pete) Killcommons has worked extensively with the Armed Forces to provide high-quality health-care services in remote locations.

According to a landmark study published in JAMA Psychiatry and funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), researchers reported that as approximately 9 percent of the population enrolled in VA health services–more than a half million individuals–were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A range of treatment options exist for PTSD, but with 37 percent of veterans living in rural areas, a significant population faces geographical barriers to receiving specialized treatment at brick-and-mortar facilities.

However, a pilot VA telehealth program implemented in 2014 exhibited promising figures for rural inhabitants. The JAMA Psychiatry study showed a dramatic difference in cognitive processing therapy coverage–approximately 54.9 percent of veterans in the telehealth program received therapy, compared to 12.1 percent in standard care. Additionally, patients in the telehealth program showed larger improvements in post-traumatic diagnostic assessments. Throughout 2014, VA telehealth services served nearly 700,000 veterans, with more than half of them located in rural areas.

At the Crossroads of Technology and Medicine: An Interview with Dr. Peter Killcommons

October 5, 2011

An expert in the field of telemedicine, radiology, and medical imaging, Dr. Peter Killcommons has spent his career traveling the world, assisting underprivileged communities with essential medical care. Currently, Dr. Killcommons acts as CEO for Medweb, a leading company in telemedicine, teleradiology, and RIS/PACS (radiology information system/picture archiving and communication system) installations.

 

1. How has technology affected the practice of medicine over the past 20 years?

In terms of diagnostics alone, we are miles ahead of where we were in the past. Using sophisticated imaging systems and sensors chips, we can now pinpoint a tumor or a host of other conditions much earlier than ever before. In fact, through our enhanced diagnostic capacity, some conditions don’t even have the chance to become symptomatic before we can get in there and start delivering appropriate treatment. From a hardware perspective, the diagnostic equipment in use today completely eclipses what was in use just a few decades ago. Obviously, these machines only work to supplement doctors and specialists using them, which cannot go unnoticed. Medical education is much more comprehensive than in years past.

 

2. What is a specific technology that has played a significant role in your career?

In my work, imaging is essential, but there has to be a place to store those images. I was able to implement a cloud-based storage system with the Dell DX6000. Using this system in tandem with MAFS (Medweb Archive File System), we are able to access radiological and other medical images from any point in the chain under a scalable, platform-independent architecture. I expect this type of system to become the norm, allowing any number of medical professionals instant access to the information they need to make effective decisions to save patients’ lives and preserve health.

 

3. Do you have any predictions about the future of medical technology?

I imagine an increase in remote medical services. There is such a tremendous demand on physicians’ time in the current system, and it only seems to be getting worse. The time saved via telemedicine should eventually cause a positive chain reaction resulting in more doctors fulfilling their raison d’être, treating patients.

A Brief Overview of Photovoltaic Solar Energy By Dr. Peter Killcommons

May 20, 2011

The United States has used photovoltaic solar cells to power satellites in orbit for more than five decades. Today, individuals regularly see solar panels in much more mundane operations, from fueling parking lot lights to running calculators. On most days, the sun emits 1,000 watts of energy for each square meter of the planet, promising to give us all the free energy we need for our homes and businesses. Photovoltaic cells harness this energy by translating sunlight directly into energy. Solar panels contain a group of these cells, connected electrically to absorb more sunlight. Individuals, companies, and organizations are discovering the benefits of constructing arrays of solar panels, such as that pictured above, located in Nevada at the Nellis Air Force Base.

Containing 70,000 panels, this array generates 14 megawatts of energy. Most modern photovoltaic cells utilize silicon, a semiconductor that absorbs light. In turn, this light disturbs loose electrons, putting them in motion and generating electricity. Cells also implement electric fields that force the freed electrons to flow in a certain direction, which creates a current. Metal contacts on the extremities of the cell allow us to extract the current for external use. Scientists and engineers use silicon to capture sunlight due to its unique properties. The atom has 14 electrons arranged across three different shells. The outer shell of a silicon atom has only four electrons, making it half-full. Since atoms want a full outer shell, they share electrons with adjacent atoms, creating a special crystalline structure. In this state, silicon has no electrons free to move about, so engineers introduce impurities, such as phosphorous atoms. Since phosphorous has five electrons in its outer shell, it shares with neighboring silicon atoms but one electron remains free. With these impurities, silicon generates a greater electrical charge since electrons break free with more ease.

In order to generate an electrical field, scientists introduced another form of impure silicon in the cell. This silicon has boron atoms. With only three atoms in its outer shell, the boron atoms attract the excess electrons generated from the phosphorous-adulterated silicon. Once the electrons reach equilibrium, they form an electric field that separates the two varieties of silicon. As photons from the sunlight break away more electrons from their atoms, they begin to flow, pushed by the magnetic field. The cell has both current and voltage, the two elements needed for electricity.

About the Author: A graduate of the City College of New York’s Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education and the New York Medical College, Dr. Peter Killcommons leverages his medical education to help those in developing countries, focusing on the Middle East. In recent years, he has become interested in solar energy and its benefits for regions without electricity. Dr. Peter Killcommons founded Medweb, a company pioneering the field of telemedicine.

Programs and Services of the Fisher House Foundation

March 8, 2011

An ongoing contributor to the Fisher House Foundation, Dr. Peter Killcommons volunteers with numerous international charities and nonprofit organizations.

The Fisher House program began in 1990, when Pauline Trost first contacted the Fisher family about temporary housing for soldiers’ families at military medical facilities. This led the Fishers to develop the first Fisher Houses, which serve as “comfort homes” for family members of military personnel and veterans at military hospitals. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush inaugurated the first Fisher House in Bethesda, Maryland, paving the way for several new houses over the next year. The Fisher Foundation was established in 1993 to promote the Fisher House program in both the public and private sectors. The initiative has expanded exponentially, with every major United States military medical center now offering families accommodation in a Fisher House. Each Fisher House serves as a gift to the United States government, with the military agencies and Department of Veterans Affairs assuming responsibility for maintenance and operational oversight.

More than 11,000 families benefit from the work of the Fisher House program every year. Donations and contributions help to support the facilities so that families can stay at Fisher houses at no charge. While house managers work full-time, the program depends on volunteers to carry out daily tasks. Fisher Houses range from 5,000 to 16,000 square feet and accommodate 16 to 42 guests, with full laundry facilities, computer access, a community kitchen, library, and other amenities. In addition to providing funding for Fisher Houses, the Fisher House Foundation supports the Hero Miles Program, Scholarships for Military Children, and the Newman’s Own Award.