Telemedicine Advances Help UVA Doctors Reach Across the Globe
Doctors at the University of Virginia Medical Center are now reaching across the world to treat patients thanks to new advances in telemedicine.
Mobile- and cloud-based technology is connecting physicians around the world to doctors in foreign communities to assist them with patient diagnoses and care. Recent gifts from Swinten Charitable Trust and the Verizon Foundation are making these advances possible.
Dr. Karen Rheuban recently diagnosed and treated an infant in a remote area of China. Now the child is living a healthy life. UVA’s director of telemedicine, David Cattell-Gordon, explains this is only one example of new high-tech advances that allow doctors to see patients and medical images in an instant from across the globe.
"We are able to reach into communities that are very remote from a mountain top in Nepal to a rural Chinese orphanage."
Physicians are using the advances to forge relationships with communities and train medical staff.
UVA Health System Press Release
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., June 5, 2013 – The Verizon Foundation, Swinfen Charitable Trust, and the University of Virginia Health System are expanding an innovative telemedicine program into rural communities in India and the Philippines. This program will utilize mobile- and cloud-based technology that will connect renowned physicians around the world to doctors in these communities to assist them with patient diagnoses and care.
The program’s expansion will extend the reach of the UK-based Swinfen Charitable Trust, which currently uses telemedicine to connect clinicians at 260 hospitals in 68 developing countries, with more than 550 medical specialists around the world, including 68 at the University of Virginia.
Verizon’s investment of more than $208,000 includes a Verizon Foundation grant and Verizon Cloud services. Verizon’s support will enable the telemedicine program to be used on mobile devices, making it easier and faster for doctors to share mission-critical information with specialists.
For the first time, healthcare providers in resource-limited environments will be able to access the telemedicine system from mobile devices to communicate with specialists around the world. These highly secure and reliable solutions will enable fast transfer of information; the ability to accommodate multiple, simultaneous users; GIS (geographic information systems) mapping; and other capabilities that will enhance the Swinfen Charitable Trust’s current telemedicine program.
Healthcare workers in developing countries who participate in the program will be able to send to expert medical specialists secure patient information – including medical images, X-rays and medical histories – through Verizon’s cloud-based service.
“A very large number of hospitals, clinics, doctors and medical workers in the developing world have no access to medical advice from specialists such as oncologists, neurologists or pediatric cardiologists,” said Lord Roger Swinfen, who founded the Swinfen Charitable Trust with his wife, Lady Pat Swinfen, in 1998. “Our telemedicine program is an invaluable tool for healthcare workers in the developing world who may not otherwise have anyone to consult about their patients’ specific cases.”
With the Verizon Foundation’s support, the Trust plans to expand its services to providers and healthcare systems caring for patients in:
A community clinic in Garhwal, Uttarakhand, India.
A pediatric plastic surgery outreach program in Giridih, India, led by Dr. Thomas Gampper, vice chair of plastic surgery at the University of Virginia.
A small burns clinic in Zambales, Philippines.
The expansion of the telemedicine program will begin in June. Once implemented, more than 1,075 medical providers in the Swinfen network, serving thousands of patients, will have improved access to specialty consultative services.
Dr. Karen S. Rheuban, director of the UVA Health System’s Center for Telehealth and a trustee of the Swinfen Charitable Trust, said: “Telemedicine has the power to connect medical providers around the world, enabling their patients to receive the best possible treatment, regardless of where they live. We’re looking forward to working with our partners in India and the Philippines as well as others across the Swinfen network to aid them in caring for their patients.”
The Verizon Foundation has partnered with the Swinfen Charitable Trust and the University of Virginia Health System since 2011, helping to bring their telemedicine program into seven countries.
Anthony Llompart, healthcare program director for the Verizon Foundation, said: “This collaboration leverages technology to extend the reach of expert specialty care for thousands of underserved patients around the globe. Technology can equalize access to quality healthcare and bridge the gap for health systems with limited resources. It is an ideal match for the focus of the Verizon Foundation.”
The Verizon Foundation is focused on using technology to solve critical social issues in the areas of energy management, education, and healthcare. Since 2000, the Verizon Foundation has invested more than half a billion dollars to improve the communities where Verizon employees work and live. Verizon’s employees are generous with their donations and their time, having logged more than 6.8 million hours of service to make a positive difference in their communities. For more information about Verizon’s philanthropic work, visit www.verizonfoundation.org; or for regular updates, visit the Foundation on Facebook (www.facebook.com/verizonfoundation) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/verizongiving).
About The Swinfen Charitable Trust
The Trust puts doctors and other medical workers in the developing World in touch with a team of expert medical specialists in The USA, UK and other developed countries, who offer their advice “free of charge” to enable referring doctors, etc. to give their patients the best possible treatment. For more information visit www.swinfencharitabletrust.org.
About University of Virginia (UVA) Health System
The UVA Health System is an academic health system that includes a 604-bed hospital, the UVA School of Medicine, a level I trauma center, nationally recognized cancer and heart centers and primary and specialty clinics throughout Central Virginia. UVA is recognized for excellence by U.S. News & World Report, Best Doctors in America and America's Top Doctors. For more information visit www.uvahealth.com/about/news-room.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to consumer, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America’s most reliable wireless network, with nearly 99 million retail connections nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America’s most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 countries, including all of the Fortune 500. A Dow 30 company with nearly $116 billion in 2012 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of 181,900. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.
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