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.
First Armenian International Telemedicine Congress
As the CEO of Medweb, a San Francisco-based medical imaging company, Peter Killcommons, M.D., runs the radiology, telemedicine, and disaster response divisions and organizes the company’s philanthropy program. Pete Killcommons presented at the First Armenian International Congress on Telemedicine and eHealth held in Yerevan, Armenia, in 2011. He also donated a Medweb telemedicine system to the Armenian Telemedicine Association to aid in the development of medical services for rural and underdeveloped areas in Armenia.
The First Armenian International Congress on Telemedicine and eHealth brought in 287 people who took part in the event either in person or online. The Congress enjoyed success in several key areas. For the first time, renowned healthcare professionals gave lectures and presentations to individuals involved in Armenian Healthcare ITC. Speakers provided information on the current state of development and future prospects and reflected on the difficulties of building a program.
Armenians working in the field had an opportunity to showcase their experience and receive professional feedback. The Congress provided both domestic and international Healthcare ITC enthusiasts the opportunity to collaborate and develop partnerships, joint programs, and professional cooperation.
First Armenian International Telemedicine Congress
As the CEO and founder of Medweb, Medical Imaging, Teleradiology, and Telemedicine located in San Francisco, California, Peter Killcommons, MD, is an expert in telemedicine. In addition to presenting at conferences regarding the methods of utilizing Internet telemedicine technologies to expand the reach of medical care and develop collaborative imaging networks, Dr. Pete Killcommons was the keynote presenter at the First Armenian International Telemedicine Congress in Yerevan, Armenia, in October 2011. At the event, Dr. Killcommons spoke on implementing telemedicine technology and donated a Medweb web-based telemedicine system to the Armenian Association of Telemedicine.
Telemedicine has made notable advances in recent years. Defined as a form of medical practice that uses telecommunications to treat patients in rural or hard-to-reach areas, telemedicine has become widely-accepted internationally. Additionally, more than 10,000 peer-reviewed papers have been published over the last twenty years in support of the practice.
Advances in networking, telecommunications systems, and cloud- and web-based technology have improved the practice of telemedicine. These advances include new services in the area of two-way video, email, smart phones, wireless connectivity and others. Together, these features help to enhance access, reduce cost of care, and meet consumer demand across the globe.
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.
American Telemedicine Association
Dr. Peter Killcommons founded Medweb, a medical imaging and telemedicine company, 21 years ago. He serves the company as chief executive officer and directs numerous divisions including telemedicine and disaster response. In October 2011, Dr. Pete Killcommons spoke at the First Armenian International Telemedicine Conference, where he espoused the benefits and difficulties of using telemedicine in Eastern Afghanistan. Dr. Peter Killcommons complements decades of hands-on experience in his field with memberships to professional organizations such as the American Telemedicine Association.
Founded in 1993, the American Telemedicine Association, or ATA, exists to champion the use of advanced telemedicine. Through various initiatives, ATA educates the public and governments on the boons of telemedicine, advocates research in the field, and develops policies. The organization aims to weave telemedicine into healthcare systems and bring about greater affordability and efficacy in the healthcare industry.
One of ATA’s foremost goals is to define telemedicine for those unfamiliar with the discipline. Just like file transfers across the Internet take place between parties spread out hundreds or thousands of miles apart, telemedicine refers to transferring medical information using electronic tools. Those tools include email, video, smartphones, and other forms of wireless resources.