Advances in Telemedicine

First Armenian International Telemedicine Congress pic

First Armenian International Telemedicine Congress
Image: congress.armtelemed.org

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.

VA-sponsored Study Suggests Telemedicine can Help Veterans with PTSD

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.

About Telemedicine and the American Telemedicine Association

American Telemedicine Association pic

American Telemedicine Association
Image: americantelemed.org

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.

First Armenian International Congress on Telemedicine and eHealth

The founder of Medweb, Dr. Peter Killcommons leads as the chief executive officer of the medical imaging, teleradiology, and telemedicine company. Noted for his expertise in the field, Dr. Peter Killcommons was invited to give a keynote presentation at the First Armenian International Congress on Telemedicine and eHealth. Dr. Pete Killcommons spoke about the obstacles and achievements of integrating telemedicine technology in Eastern Afghanistan.

Supported by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia, International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth, and American Telemedicine Association, the First Armenian International Congress on Telemedicine and eHealth took place in Yerevan on October 14, 2011. The conference had an attendance of 287 people, of whom 150 were regular attendees and 76 were students. Additionally, representatives from 20 countries joined the event.

The conference program featured keynote speakers including the Deputy Minister of Health Dr. Sergey Khachatryan and Dr. Adriana Velazquez Berumen from the World Health Organization. Attendees participated in discussions about the future of eHealth and international initiatives, disaster management cycle, and legislative and logistics in telemedicine systems, among other pertinent topics. Following the conference, attendees received a Congress Certificate allowing them to claim 15 European continuing medical education credits from the European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education.

What is Telemedicine?

Peter Killcommons is the founder and CEO of Medweb, a telemedicine solutions provider that develops web-based platforms for remotely viewing, transmitting, and storing medical data of all types. Under Peter Killcommons’ leadership, the company also provides consulting services focused on the use of technology to improve public health, disaster relief, emergency preparedness, and other objectives.

Telemedicine is defined as the use of electronic communications and information technologies to provide health care services from a distance. Web-based patient portals, doctor consultations via video conference, and the transmission of test results are all examples of telemedicine. In addition, thanks to telemedicine, doctors are able to monitor their patients’ vital signs remotely, and patients can download health-related smartphone applications.

Currently, 200 telemedicine networks and 3,500 service sites exist in the United States. As of 2011, upwards of 1 million Americans used remote cardiac monitors and the Veterans Health Administration conducted more than 300,000 remote consultations. Telemedicine provides a cost-effective way to connect patients and medical professionals safely, and can be especially beneficial for patients who live in remote areas.