How MedWeb Helps in Afghanistan

MedWeb pic

MedWeb
Image: medweb.com

Afghanistan is an area that stands to greatly benefit from modern medical technology, and with his company MedWeb, Dr. Peter (Pete) Killcommons offers a solution through telecommunications. With MedWeb, Peter Killcommons has travelled to the country at least a dozen times since 2008 to help set up opportunities for remote diagnosis, web conferencing, and other solutions for medical and educational aid.

As Afghan telecommunications companies increase their reach, information is more easily transmitted directly from the patient to doctors who might be anywhere in the world. With tools like web conferencing, medical cameras, and teleradiology, diagnosis and education have become much more accessible in remote areas. This advance is especially helpful for the women and children in Afghanistan who may not be able to travel easily without a male escort, so even individuals in remote rural communities can gain useful medical knowledge from home.

Since 2008, MedWeb has donated a portable ultrasound machine and laptop to the Afshar Women and Children’s Hospital, connected a webserver for telemedicine and teleradiology at Acomet Hospital, and donated video conferencing equipment to Nangarhar University Teaching Hospital. In 2011, MedWeb organized a video conference for OBGYN doctors at Nangarhar with the Holy Family Teaching Hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. This conference was the first of its kind and created a collaborative relationship among medical professionals across those borders that are maintained to this day.

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The American Telemedicine Association’s Annual Meeting and Trade Show

Peter Killcommons, an accomplished physician and medical entrepreneur, serves as the chief executive officer of the San Francisco-based medical imaging and telemedicine firm Medweb. Engaged in his field, Pete Killcommons maintains memberships in a number of professional organizations, including the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), a nonprofit group that works to improve health care systems around the world through the increased availability of telemedicine. In striving for this goal, ATA sponsors programs and activities aimed at research, advocacy, and education.

As part of its education initiative, ATA organizes a number of regular conferences, including its Annual Telemedicine Meeting and Trade Show, which attracts thousands of health care professionals and entrepreneurs each year. Now in its third decade, ATA’s Annual Meeting gives attendees the opportunity to network with their peers, enhance their knowledge and skills, and explore cutting-edge telemedicine products, services, and technologies.

ATA’s 20th Annual Meeting and Trade Show will be held May 3-5, 2015, in Los Angeles. The three-day event will feature a comprehensive scientific program comprising more than 500 educational sessions on the latest research and developments in telemedicine. For more information about ATA’s 20th Annual Meeting, visit www.americantelemed.org.

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

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.